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Humanistic Buddhists and social liberation

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Chappell, David W.








Humanistic Buddhism has arisen in modern times with the goal of liberating humans and society. However, many of the conditions that led to the rise of Humanistic Buddhism are part of modern secular reforms and have also helped to liberate Buddhism from some forms of political and cultural captivity. In particular, this article explores the role of five factors as necessary conditions for Humanistic Buddhism--an independent judiciary providing some protection from the state, a humanistic enlightenment movement that encourages independent intellectual inquiry, a modern communication systems to support individual developments, relative peace, and a global economy. These have enabled new models, networks, and groups of Buddhists to emerge and to become socially engaged in new ways. Humanistic Buddhism may be working to liberate society, but a byproduct has been a transformation and liberation of Buddhism as well as the improvement of society. In this way, it is perhaps a new illustration of the maxim that "benefiting others benefits oneself."

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