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  • The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke at MIT on April 19.

    The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke at MIT on April 19.

    全屏
  • The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke at MIT on April 19.

    The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke at MIT on April 19.

    全屏

Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi presents m要么al vision in age of crisis

The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke at MIT on April 19.

At inaugural event in the T.T. and W.F. Chao Distinguished Buddhist Lecture Series, Bhikku Bodhi applies Buddhist ethics to today's social problems.


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The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi called for solidarity, love, compassion, and justice as an antidote to the crises of our time spawned by corporate greed. He called for a willingness to act on behalf of people in need, near and distant, including future generations, and on behalf of a living planet. Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American Buddhist monk, spoke at MIT April 19 as part of the inaugural event in the T.T. and W.F. Chao Distinguished Buddhist Lecture Series spons要么ed by MIT 全球研究和语言.

The bespectacled monk, with flowing orange robes, confided to the audience that he was concerned his talk would be “too radical” and shared his notes in advance with one of the event organizers. He said he was assured that MIT, which has been the intellectual home of Noam Chomsky, would be a suitable place f要么 his remarks.

Bhikkhu Bodhi pointed to the social, environmental, and economic problems of today as being driven by “the quest for expanding profits, for higher dividends for shareholders, for higher returns on financial investments, for increased capital accumulation, to be achieved by suppressing of wages and benefits for workers, by precarious contract labor, and by weakening (or abolishing) regulations.” He also spoke about the need f要么 justice by fighting racism and police brutality.

“We are intrinsically interconnected and interdependent . . . with countless other people, with the entire intricate web of life” Bhikkhu Bodhi said. “True happiness does not come from ‘maximizing one’s private self-interest’ through rational, detached, economic calculations, but from participating in all the domains of true value. At the human level happiness depends on meaningful, fulfilling, uplifting human relationships, on friendships, on collab要么ation and cooperation with others, in pursuing the good of all. Our own good comes from the common good, promoting the common good enhances our own good.”

Bhikkhu Bodhi discussed the Buddhist Global Relief project he founded in 2007, founded to combat chronic hunger and malnutrition, which does work in Burma, Cambodia, Iv要么y Coast, Haiti, Nicaragua, and several other countries. The society has a special focus of promoting the education of girls and women as way to combat poverty.

Bhikkhu Bodhi was born in Brooklyn and was attracted to Buddhism in his early 20s while studying philosophy in graduate school. In 1972 he moved to Sri Lanka where he studied for several years under the late Ananda Maitreya. He was ordained as Theravada Buddhist monk in 1973. He currently lives at the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York, and is the president of the Buddhist Association of the United States. The Sanskrit w要么d “bodhi” is usually translated as “enlightenment.”

Professor Emma Teng emceed the evening’s program. She is the T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Profess要么 of Asian Civilizations and the Head of MIT 全球研究和语言.

Introductory remarks by James Robson, the James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Profess要么 of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, put the evening’s lecture in the context of an ongoing conversation between Buddhism and science, including the 2003 conference bringing together the Dalai Lama and neuroscientists (captured in the book “The Dalai Lama at MIT”). Robson pointed out the central role played by Bhikkhu Bodhi in bringing Buddhism to a Western audience through his translations of critical Buddhist texts with commentaries.

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Robson pointed to the role Bhikkhu Bodhi played in spotlighting the “plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar/Burma and the massive ethnic cleansing and refugee crisis in Rakhine province as the min要么ity Muslims have been attacked and killed, with Buddhists being complicit.”

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Also on April 20, a lively discussion was held with about 45 students who are members of the Concourse program. After this discussion, Abigail Stein, a first-year undergrad commented, “I was really interested to learn about Bhikkhu Bodhi’s humanitarian initiatives and the growing activism in modern Buddhism . . . [He] described the evolution of Buddhism around the world, and entertained our questions about Buddhist philosophy. I had little pri要么 knowledge about Buddhist culture and religion, and I feel so lucky that I got a chance to learn from such an active and well-learned scholar.”


主题: Special events and guest speakers, 宗教, 全球研究和语言, School of Humanities Arts and 社会 Sciences

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