Buddhadharma magazine interview forum with Mushim, David Loy and Joan Sutherland, Spring 2012 issue

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from the introduction by Melvin McLeod: Are we truly inclusive? Does a monolithic political culture serve the dharma well? We talk a lot about diversity—except political diversity. Our panelists acknowledge that people with conservative political and social views often don’t feel at home in Buddhist centers (nor, I must acknowledge, reading Buddhist magazines). People of all types need the dharma, not just educated, middle-class liberals. Is a Buddhist party line keeping people who need it away from the dharma?

There are those who argue that the best way to benefit sentient beings is to leave social and political engagement aside and concentrate on achieving enlightenment. Yet few of us, even the most devoted, will lead lives of full-time practice. We will make our contribution from within society—in our daily practice, in our relationships with those close to us, and in our lives as citizens and members of society. We cannot wait until we achieve enlightenment. We need to act now, offering society our insight and values in the most skillful way we can—and to our surprise, maybe finding realization too.