34. Socially Engaged Buddhism

Emerging Patterns of Theory and Practice

  1. Steven M. Emmanuel
  1. Christopher S. Queen

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch34

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

How to Cite

Queen, C. S. (2013) Socially Engaged Buddhism, in A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy (ed S. M. Emmanuel), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch34

Author Information

  1. Harvard University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658772

Online ISBN: 9781118324004



  • action-rebirth;
  • Five Precepts;
  • morality;
  • socially engaged buddhism;
  • suffering


This chapter examines a sampling of the beliefs and practices to ascertain whether there are emerging patterns that link the otherwise independent, globally dispersed movements of engaged Buddhism. The rise of socially engaged Buddhism since the middle of the last century has been intensively documented and analyzed by scholars for more than 30 years. The doctrines of suffering (dukkha) and action-rebirth (karma-sasāra), and the moral guidelines known as Five Precepts (pañcasila), may be taken as markers of the philosophical breadth and depth of the new Buddhism, and of its readiness to enter into dialogue with philosophies and theologies beyond its borders.