This paper proposes “making refuge” as a conceptual placeholder and an analytical rubric, a guiding ethos and praxis, for the engaged Buddhist aspiration of responding to the social, political, economic, and planetary crises facing the world. Making refuge is conceived as the work of building the conditions of trust and safety necessary for living and dying well together as co-inhabitants of diverse communities and habitats. The paper will explain the rationale for making refuge by connecting the dharmic understanding of dukkha with feminist conceptualizations of the body and vulnerability. This will chart some theoretical and methodological pathways for engaged Buddhism to further its liberatory aspirations in reciprocity with emergent movements in radical critical theory, contemplative studies, and social and ecological activism. The paper will also examine the effects of white supremacy in U.S. Buddhism through the framework of making refuge. This will demonstrate how political healing and restorative justice might be cultivated through a dispositional ethics that pays appropriate attention to the vulnerabilities facing oppressed people.
- Publication Year
- Publication Type
- Academic Articles
Ng, E., & Walsh, Z. (2019). Vulnerability, Response-Ability, and the Promise of Making Refuge. Religions, 10(2): 80. doi:10.3390/rel10020080.
- Projects involved
- A Mindset for the Anthropocene