In response to the escalating violence surrounding the ongoing public protests that have gripped Hong Kong over the past three months, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) today expressed its firm and longstanding commitment to compassionate and non-violent means to engage with the situation in Hong Kong.
In a statement published on its website and dated 9 September, INEB called on Buddhist groups in Hong Kong to extend humanitarian assistance where needed without regard to political affiliation, and expressed an intention to help seek long-term solutions that would address the root causes of the social unrest in the Special Administrative Region.
The statement reads:
As the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), we have members who represent a wide variety of peoples across Asia as well as in other parts of the world including the Americas, Europe, Oceana, and Africa. We also have members and close friends who are not Buddhist among other faith traditions and beliefs.
In regards to the extremely difficult situation in Hong Kong recently, we are deeply concerned for the immediate suffering of people who are facing violence on a daily basis. We are also deeply concerned about the structural and cultural roots of this suffering.
In this way, we would like to express our commitment to engaging in the situation in Hong Kong in a compassionate, holistic and thoroughly non-violent manner.
We will seek through our networks to end the violence on both sides of the conflict. As Buddhists, we find violence an unskillful way of dealing with conflict which also leads to intolerable levels of immediate suffering. We look forward to the Buddhist monasteries and groups in Hong Kong to provide humanitarian assistance beyond political positions.
We also wish to seek to work on longer term solutions, which include
• Appropriate economic development for Hong Kong that does not exacerbate class divisions
• Right governance in which local, regional, national, and international interests are harmonized to avoid the exploitation of others and ensure civil and human rights are honored as part of the system.
• Cultural and ideological inclusivity which forms the root of a non-violent society so that the long history of Hong Kong as a diverse and international city can continue to thrive.
We invite any partners who resonate with these goals to reach out to us so that we can continue to build bridges and human connection to resolve this crisis.
INEB was established in Thailand in 1989 by the prominent Thai academic, activist, and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thinkers and social activists with the aim of connecting engaged Buddhists around the world and promoting understanding, cooperation, and networking among inter-Buddhist and inter-religious groups to address global issues, such as human rights, conflict resolution, and environmental concerns.
Founded as an autonomous organization under the Bangkok-based Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation, INEB’s members include monks, nuns, activists, academics, and social workers from more than 25 countries in Australasia, Asia, Europe, and North America. While a Buddhist organization, INEB welcomes members from other 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)