Wednesday, June 8, 2022

2:00 PM

UBC | C.K. Choi Building
Room 120 | 1855 West Mall

UBC C.K. Choi Building

This event is hybrid, audiences will be able to attend this talk either in-person or remotely via ZOOM after registering

* Please note that as part of UBC’s campus wide COVID-19 Rules, audience members will be required to wear a mask within indoor spaces and during this lecture.

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society is delighted to welcome Professor James Mark Shields, who will give a lecture entitled:

Dissing Thay: Socially Engaged Buddhism and the Problem of Nonviolence


Non-violence, or non-harming (ahimsa), is the first precept and a core teaching of classical Buddhism. And yet, despite its historical centrality and current popularity, the concept and ways of practicing non-violence have rarely been elucidated in Buddhist tradition. In particular, there has been little analysis within Buddhism of the problems of structural violence embedded in social, political and economic systems. In this exploratory paper, I examine some of the writings of Thích Nhất Hạnh (1926–2022)—revered Vietnamese Thien (Zen) Buddhist teacher and activist who is generally considered the “father” of Socially Engaged Buddhism—in an attempt to rethink the meaning and significance of the theory and practice “violence” and “non-violence” within contemporary Buddhism.

About the Speaker

James Mark Shields is Professor of Comparative Humanities and Asian Thought at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA). Educated at McGill University (Canada), the University of Cambridge (UK), and Kyoto University (Japan), he conducts research on modern Buddhist thought, Japanese philosophy, comparative ethics and political theory. He is author of Critical Buddhism: Engaging with Modern Japanese Buddhist Thought (Ashgate, 2011), and Against Harmony: Progressive and Radical Buddhism in Modern Japan (Oxford, 2017).

Sponsored by UBC’s Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society (何鴻毅家族基金佛學與當代社會課程)