This class in “Buddhist societies” works with the following themes pertaining to the “good society:” Education, Cultural Diversity and Tolerance, Individual Moral Perfection, and Environmental and Social Non-violence. These themes are abundantly spoken about and practiced in all Buddhist societies, including lay Buddhist organizations, monastic communities known as the Sangha, Buddhist Universities, and whole countries such as Thailand, Japan, Sri Lanka and Taiwan where the primal governing principles are Buddhist.
We will work toward developing an understanding of moral philosophical and social principles created during the classic age of Buddhism in India (6-3 cc. B.C.E.). Then, we will look at some specific social organizations that adopted those principles. These include lay organizations such as Soka Gakkai International; monastic communities such as the Sangha of Thailand and Sri Lanka; Buddhist Universities such as the University of the West in Los Angeles; and whole countries such as Japan, Thailand or Korea.
We will examine the value of the Buddhist social moral principles by measuring their success in terms of environmental protection, social equality, and human psychological wellbeing. Finally, we will look at our own country and debate whether some of her problems can be solved by utilizing some of the Buddhist principles.