The biennial conference of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) was held in Chiang Mai this month. The conference marked INEB's 20th anniversary. I was involved in organising the conference in Taiwan in 2007 and in Thailand in 2001. I didn't attend this time, but came across a couple of reports online.
Brooke Schedneck, a Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University, writes about the conference at Wandering Dhamma (also posted on New Mandala). The Clear View Project has a report from Alan Senauke, a long term member of INEB (link via Rev. Danny Fisher). Alan also reports on the Think Sangha meeting that followed the INEB conference. (Update: Priyadarshi Telang from TBMSG's Jambudvipa project also has a report.)
The conference statement below comes from the Clear View Project website.
This week in Chiang Mai the International Network of Engaged Buddhists celebrated its 20th anniversary with a successful conference dedicated to peace and social transformation. As kalyanamitta, more than two hundred socially engaged Buddhists from twenty-five countries – from Asia and the Pacific region, from North America and Europe – joined together for study, dialogue, and dharma practice, committing ourselves to work for peace.
We affirm our deep belief that the suffering of society – war, racism, poverty, gender oppression, destruction of the environment, and cultural degradation – can be transformed into liberation for all beings.
We affirm and have seen ourselves that peace can arise from even the fiercest of conflicts.
Together we confronted critical concerns that affect life on this precious and fragile planet:
• the intertwined disasters of consumerism and environmental destruction;
• the vital need to empower and educate young people;
• the pervasive oppression of women, and all gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered men & women;
• the denial of human rights and meaningful livelihood;
• the need to preserve Buddhism and all traditional culture and religion;
• and the obscenity of war, civil strife, and violence.
These concerns, wherever they arise in the world are our concerns. They are close to our hearts. In the Buddha's way and in the way of every great religion, we know that we must meet this suffering not with faith alone, but with all our efforts and action day by day.
— 17 November 2009