The New International Engaged Buddhism Study Group

The Engaged Buddhism Study Group began in Tokyo in 2004 initiated by the Zenseikyo Foundation & Buddhist Council for Youth and Child Welfare and the AYUS International Buddhist Cooperation Network along with some other individual engaged Buddhists in order to examine the ways Buddhists could confront a variety of social issues. Since that time, Buddhists in Japan have become increasingly engaged in a wide variety of pressing social issues, from trauma care and suicide prevention to working with the homeless, elderly, and disaster victims to activism against nuclear power and militarism and finally working to build and revive the spiritual and ecological culture of Japan. These activities and movements are a far cry from the negative image of “funeral Buddhism” that was prevalent in Japan at the end of the 20th century.

The next step in this challenge for Japanese Buddhism to re-invent and revive itself is to connect with Buddhists and other religious groups active in like-minded social activities outside of Japan. There are numerous international Buddhist associations and networks these days, but many of them are confined to a rather top-down exchange in which wealthy East Asian Buddhists provide aid and material support to “poor” Buddhists in South and Southeast Asia. The Japan Network of Engaged Buddhists (JNEB) is seeking to develop more horizontal relationships with Buddhists in other countries, creating collaborative actions in a wide variety of fields, especially concerning pressing issues like global climate change and inter-ethnic & inter-religious conflict.

Priests and nuns, researchers, NGO staff, journalists, students and people from various other sectors have been involved in this study group and our networking events. We welcome your participation in working for the harmonization of a peaceful inner life and a peaceful society in this time of increasing social division and intolerance. Please come join us this spring to engage in discussions with foreign Buddhists on their issues of concern and activities. Translation will be provided in Japanese, but you are also encouraged to come develop your international communication skills in English or the native language of our guest!

2016 Spring Series

MAY 13th (Fri)

Maitriveer2Theme: Nationalism, Democracy, and Buddhism in the Vision of Dalit Buddhist Leader and India’s First Law Minister Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Guest: Maitriveer Nagarjuna

Matriveer is a Professor in the Department of Aesthetics and Philosophy at English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad and an ordained member of the Triratna Budhha Mahasangha, a community of Buddhist practitioners in India that have emerged from the efforts of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to lead former outcastes or Dalits out of the oppressive structures of Hindu caste society. Maitriveer also works as a teacher of Dalit Buddhist youth from various regions of India at the Nagaloka Center in Nagpur, Central India, the city where Ambedkar led some 500,000 Dalits in conversion to Buddhism in 1946. In this age of growing nationalism and crisis of electoral democracy in India, Japan, and elsewhere, Maitriveer will speak about Ambedkar’s Buddhist vision.

Location: Kenju-in Temple

3-4-14 Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0002

Tel: 03-3812-3711, Fax: 03-3815-7951



MAY 27th (Fri)

DL_Smile2Theme: The Political Situation in the United States & International Buddhist Activities to Counter Climate Change

Guest: David R. Loy

David is a Zen practitioner, writer and holds a Doctorate in comparative religion, ethics, and society. In 1971 he began studying Zen with the Sambo Kyodan lineage and in 1984 moved to Kamakura to study under its head teacher Yamada Koun, receiving dharma transmission in 1988. He is now a regular contributor for the Huffington Post and author of numerous popular volumes on Buddhism and social issues, such as The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory. Most recently, he has been spearheading an international Buddhist response to climate change issues through writings, workshops, and networking.

  • 16:30-17:30 special meditation session with David Loy

Location: Shinko-in Temple

1-1-5 Higashi Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0044
Click here for a map

JUNE 11 (Sat.)

gautham (1)Theme: The Activities of Neo-Buddhists in India and the Development of Eco-Temples

Guest: Gautham Prabhu Nagappan

Gautham is involved in various kinds of social development work among some of the most impoverished communities of Tamil Nadu in South India, many of whose members have converted to Buddhism as a means to escape the identity of caste discrimination. Gautham will talk about this situation and his activities, including the new Eco-Temple Community Development Project and his plan to build the Sukhavati (Pure Land) Eco-Temple being done in coordination with our host Rev. Hidehito Okochi, the abbot of Kenju-in Temple.


17:00 Opening and Introduction

17:15 Guest Speaker

18:30 Questions and Open Discussion

19:00 Out for Dinner

Location: Kenju-in Temple

3-4-14 Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0002

Tel: 03-3812-3711, Fax: 03-3815-7951



July 5 (Tue.)

13495010_10154495780743287_795420723459636577_nTheme: The Connections between Rinsho (Clinical) Buddhism, Contemplative Care, and Engaged Buddhism

Guest: Rev. Yusuki Matsushita (Shingon Sect Buddhist Priest, Doctor of Clinical Psychology)

Contact: Jonathan Watts – JNEB Coordinator、 080-8911-5114


JNEB(Japan Network of Engaged Buddhists)

Kenju-in Temple

IBEC (International Buddhist Exchange Center of the Kodo Kyodan Buddhist Fellowship)