Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest religions, and an important belief system guiding the worldviews of approximately 350 million adherents. Within Buddhism, the Engaged Buddhist Movement applies insights and lessons from Buddhist thought to address social, political, and environmental injustices and challenges. Sulak Sivaraksa (recipient of the 2011 Niwano Peace Prize) is perhaps the most well known and globally recognized Engaged Buddhist leader, both in his native Thailand and abroad. Sivaraksa will deliver a public lecture at Georgetown, reflecting upon his more than half a century of work, and his call for an “economics of happiness” as an alternative to existing models of development.
Sulak Sivaraksa is a Buddhist spiritual leader and humanitarian best known for his grassroots activism that uses spiritual models to advocate for sustainable change to better the lives of poor, rural Thais. He serves on the Thai Inter-Religious Commission for Development and is the executive director of Spirit in Education, an organization promoting alternative forms of adult education in Thailand. Sivaraksa has co-founded several other national development NGOs and international Buddhist organizations. His criticism of the Thai monarchy led to his arrest in 1984 and in 1991; he was cleared in both cases. Sivaraksa was honored with the Gandhi Millennium award in 2001. Born in Thailand in 1933, he received his B.A. from St. David's University College in 1958. After returning to Thailand in 1961, he taught Buddhism at Chulalongkorn University and in 1963 founded Social Science Review (Sangkhomsaat Paritat).