The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) has announced the launch in January of its annual School of English for Engaged Social Service (SENS 2023)—a three-month transformative learning program to nurture young adults and mentor them as community leaders and agents of compassionate social change.
Hosted by the INEB Institute, a non-profit institute of higher education, the annual SENS initiative integrates English-language training with self-awareness, mutual support, and an understanding of social and ecological challenges in order to train young adults in leadership, with an emphasis on sustainability—for the planet, for society, and for the human spirit. The program seeks to engender the diverse skills and personal qualities needed to bring about personal, social, and ecological resilience. The 12-week course of intensive instruction, with climate justice as a key theme, commences in Thailand on 22 January.
“The SENS program seeks students who are committed to working for the larger good, who are able to listen attentively to others, and who can think independently,” the INEB Institute said in an announcement shared with BDG. “We welcome students from any country, regardless of age, occupation, and social or religious status. We are happy to accept laypeople as well as those who have chosen a religious vocation. We aim to form a diverse cohort of students who identify with Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, or an indigenous tradition—or who follow secular or other forms of self-cultivation, ethical orientation, and spiritual practice.” (INEB Institute)
SENS 2023 will run from 22 January–8 April 2023. The application deadline for prospective students is 26 October 2022.
The INEB Institute was established by INEB with the intention of creating a model institute of higher learning offering study programs that integrate progressive practices and learning strategies with a focus on peace and reconciliation, environmental healing, alternative education, sustainable economics, and the capacity for spiritual growth and leadership. Embodying the principals of socially engaged Buddhism, the institute’s primary purpose is to “help young people rediscover their fundamentally interdependent nature while developing the skills needed to help them become agents for genuine social change.” (INEB Institute)
“Our vision is that positive and lasting social change must be grounded in a transformation of the way each individual views her or his connection to our world and all its inhabitants. We welcome students from any country, regardless of age, occupation, and social or religious status,” the INEB Institute said.
The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) was formed in 1989 by the prominent Thai academic, activist, and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thought leaders. Connecting socially engaged Buddhists around the world, INEB works promote understanding, cooperation, and networking among inter-Buddhist and inter-religious groups, and to actively address urgent global issues such as human rights, conflict resolution, and environmental crises. Headquartered in Bangkok, INEB has established a wide range of social projects and outreach programs aimed at overcoming suffering and empowering vulnerable communities through the practice of the Dharma and engaged Buddhism.
INEB’s members include monks, nuns, social workers, and academics from more than 25 countries in Asia, Australasia, Europe, and North America, working together under the umbrella of kalyana-mitrata.* While founded in and motivated by the Buddhadharma, INEB welcomes members from all spiritual traditions and recognizes the importance of interfaith activities, stating: “INEB’s philosophy and practice is based on compassion, social justice, non-violence, and co-existence as put forth by Gautama the Buddha. The network’s core mission is to confront and end suffering using analysis and action guided by the Four Noble Truths.” (INEB)
* Kalyaṇa-mittata (Pali) kalyaṇa-mitrata (Skt.), the Buddhist concept of spiritual friendship.
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