International Network of Engaged Buddhists to Host “A Conference on Interbeing” in Taiwan
The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) will host its 18th general conference in Taiwan from 22–29 November, titled “A Conference on Interbeing: Transforming Conflict as Compassion with Exposure and Retreat.” The ambitious event aims to examine the challenges for engaged Buddhism over the coming decade, through in-depth discussions and developing action plans to empower INEB members and the group’s support network, and also includes exposure to a cross-section of ongoing Buddhist social engagement projects in Taiwan and a period of guided retreat.
“This coming conference . . . is a part of our 10-year strategic plan to strengthen socially engaged Buddhism worldwide,” INEB executive secretary Somboon Chungprampree told Buddhistdoor Global. “[I] hope we can have more diverse groups of Buddhists join and collaborate on the themes that they are interested in.”
The full conference program, which lasts for eight days, is divided into three parts: Exposure Days (22–23 November), which includes visits to two Buddhist orders, Dharma Drum Mountain and the Tzu Chi Foundation, along with a symposium on dying and hospice care, and a visit to a Buddhist hospital; Conference Days (24–26 November), the main conference that will provide a deeper exploration of engaged Buddhism, engaging with the wider INEB community on their activities, and an update on INEB’s 10-year road map for socially engaged Buddhism; and Retreat Days (27–29 November), a post-conference meditation and practice retreat for reflection on the events of the conference outcomes.
“The multifaceted nature and speed at which suffering is being wrought in the world demands INEB to step to the next level as an organization,” INEB observed in a statement on its 10-year plan. “As we define and coordinate in a more structured manner, we can create a stronger sense of belonging to our kalyanamitta* family. Not only will this support us as we take on ever-increasing responsibility, but we will be sustained by support of our INEB sangha. With deep respect for [our founder] Ajahn Sulak and the trailblazers of socially engaged Buddhism for the last half a century, may INEB’s work into next decade—2017–2027—truly alleviate the suffering of the world.”
INEB was established in Thailand in 1989 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. The organizations states: “INEB’s philosophy and practice is based on compassion, social justice, non-violence, and co-existence as put forth by Gautama the Buddha. The core mission is to confront and end suffering using analysis and action guided by the Four Noble Truths.” (INEB)
The organization was founded by the prominent academic, activist, and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thinkers and social activists 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.
“We come together not out of a series of policy agendas but a deeper felt connection with sentient life and the common struggle to overcome suffering,” INEB explained about its approach to engaged Buddhism. “Practically, this has meant that the bi-annual conference is our most important organizational structure and means for bringing together people to listen to the unheard stories of suffering by the most marginalized of peoples.” (INEB)
Individuals and organizations interested in attending the conference can contact INEB through the links below.
* Pali. The concept of “spiritual friendship” within a Buddhist community.
The International Network of Engaged Buddhists
The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) 18th General Conference
INEB - International Network of Engaged Buddhists (Facebook)
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