The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) has announced that the International Young Bodhisattva Program: For Spiritual Resurgence & Social Transformation, a two-week experiential-learning initiative for young leaders and social activists now open to prospective applicants. The program is held in collaboration with Buddhist Hongshi College in Taiwan from 31 October—13 November 2023.
“The International Young Bodhisattva Program, established by INEB in conjunction with Buddhist Hongshi College, aims to develop young people’s confidence, capacity, and commitment to social and spiritual transformation,” INEB said in an announcement shared with BDG. “It is an exposure program centered on the values of loving-kindness and compassion for youth to learn about social engagement in Asia, particularly in the context of Taiwan.”
The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) is a worldwide network of individuals and organizations who are committed to promoting and working toward social justice, environmental sustainability, and world peace. INEB was formed in 1989 by the renowned Buddhist scholar and activist Prof. Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist leaders seeking to apply the Buddhist teachings and principles to contemporary social and political issues. Through its global network, INEB works to promote understanding, cooperation, and connection among inter-Buddhist and inter-religious groups, and to actively address urgent global issues such as human rights, conflict resolution, and environmental crises.
“The Young Bodhisattva Training Program is aimed at fostering spiritual resurgence and social transformation,” INEB explained. “The program . . . addresses the lack of enduring peace and social justice in countries influenced by capitalism and authoritarianism, with an emphasis on the importance of compassion, non-violence, and youth engagement for achieving genuine social change.”
The program is hosted in Tao Yuan, Taiwan, at Buddhist Hongshi College, founded by Venerable Shih Chao-hwei, the celebrated Taiwanese Buddhist monastic who has earned global renown as a socially engaged activist, scholar, and author, and as a leading voice for liberation, empowerment, and compassionate engaged Buddhism in Asia and beyond. Applicants should be aged from 20–40 years old, possess a strong command of the English language, demonstrate an interest in Buddhism, spirituality, personal transformation, and social change, and be open to learning with others.
“Whether you were born into a Buddhist family, came to Buddhism on your own, or do not identify as a Buddhist at all, this program is designed to strengthen your understanding of the roots of duhkha, or suffering, in our modern societies, as well as potential ways to address them,” INEB noted.
The application deadline for International Young Bodhisattva Program: For Spiritual Resurgence & Social Transformation is 20 August.
“In many countries, enduring peace and social justice remain elusive because of capitalism, authoritarianism, and the dominance of the corporate sector and non-democratic governments,” INEB observed “The ecological consequences of human consumption and a profit-driven ideology have fueled greed, competition, oppression, and exploitation. Structural violence has led to poverty, ecological crises, discrimination, and conflicts.
“Imbalanced development and societal divisions hinder the potential of the young generation. Buddhist thinkers and activists propose compassionate alternatives. The timeless teachings of the Buddha hold the potential to guide humanity toward a peaceful and sustainable world.”
Headquartered in Bangkok, INEB has established a wide range of social projects and outreach programs across the region aimed at overcoming suffering and empowering vulnerable communities through the practice of the Dharma and social engagement—such as education and training programs, community development projects, advocacy and lobbying efforts, and interfaith dialogue.
INEB emphasizes the importance of developing an ethical, Dharma-based approach to its work, and encourages members to work collaboratively and respectfully with individuals and organizations upon a foundation of shared values and aspirations. The network also advocates the importance of environmental sustainability and the responsible use of natural resources, and has promoted sustainable development practices in various communities.
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