Wonderful news via Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online:
The Niwano Peace Foundation announced today that it will be giving this year’s peace prize to “engaged buddhist” Sulak Sivaraksa.
Established in 1983, the Niwano Peace Prize was created to honor people who are working to promote peace through interreligious cooperation.
Sivaraksa’s lifelong work has been motivated by a commitment to the “engaged buddhism” movement. In outlining the reasons for selecting Sivaraksa was this year’s award recipient, the foundation describes Sivaraksa as ” a remarkable and multifaceted Buddhist leader whose work for peace is exemplified by courage, determination, imagination, and the constant inspiration of the core principles of his Buddhist faith. Sulak has helped to change the views of political leaders, scholars, and young people, in Thailand, Asia, and the world, encouraging a new understanding of peace, democracy, and development. He challenges accepted approaches that fail to give priority to poor citizens, men and women alike. He has, over a lifetime of dedicated service and unflagging commitment, given new life to ancient Buddhist teachings about nonviolence and about peace and justice.”
For more information on the Niwano Peace Foundation and on Sulak Sivaraksa’s work, visit the foundation’s website.
For those who aren’t aware of him or only vaguely aware, Sulak Sivaraksa is one of Thailand’s preeminent social activist and one of the titans of the modern engaged Buddhist movement. He founded and currently directs Thailand’s Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation. He also serves on the advisory board of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. In addition to all his work as an activist, organizer, and social critic in Thailand, he has also served as chair of the UN’s Asian Cultural Forum on Development and has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Hawaii, and Cornell University. A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he is the author such books as Seeds of Peace: A Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society, Conflict, Culture, Change: Engaged Buddhism in a Globalizing World, and Loyalty Demands Dissent: Autobiography of a Socially Engaged Buddhist.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure and true honor of meeting and receiving teachings from Sulak, and I think he’s one of the most extraordinary and inspiring individuals I have ever encountered. He’s one of my heroes.
I’m very pleased to hear this news, and offer my warmest congratulations.