Episode 290 :: Bhikkhu Bodhi :: Buddhism's Encountering of Social Crisis

Bhikkhu Bodhi

Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi joins us to speak about how Buddhism meets social crisis.

Since the Buddha’s time, there has been a diversification and evolution of the sasana. The teaching encounters new people, new cultures, and becomes part of them. Fast forward thousands of years to the present day, and you have many different branches of the same Buddhist tree, each with differing ways of manifesting the dhamma in this complex, global community.

A common thread, despite many differences, is suffering and the extinguishing of it. One of the many strengths of Buddhism is how well it speaks to what it’s like to be human, and however we show up as Buddhists, this world has more than enough suffering in it. Recognizing that, and coming together as kalyana mittas or friends on this journey, is the heartwood of being Buddhist in this world, today.

Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk from New York City. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944, he obtained a BA in philosophy from Brooklyn College and a PhD in philosophy from Claremont Graduate School. Drawn to Buddhism in his early 20s, after completing his university studies he traveled to Sri Lanka, where he received novice ordination in 1972 and full ordination in 1973, both under the late Ven. Ananda Maitreya, the leading Sri Lankan scholar-monk of recent times. He was appointed editor of the Buddhist Publication Society (in Sri Lanka) in 1984 and its president in 1988. In May 2000 he gave the keynote address at the United Nations on its first official celebration of Vesak. He returned to the U.S. in 2002.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice lemon ginger tea.


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Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of this podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. You can visit his website to hear more of his music, get the full discography, and view his upcoming tour dates.


  1. Mark Knickelbine on March 27, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Bhikkhu Bodhi is the only prominent Western Theravadin monk to put aside judgmental defensiveness and make common cause with Secular Buddhists. His attitude is one of concern for the mahasanga, not merely with preserving his lineage.

    If I had a chance, though, I’d ask him why Buddhist Global Fellowship isn’t included in any of the combined appeals that are part of workplace giving campaigns. I have been a contributor for years, but could have given more if payroll deduction was an option. As it is, you can support the charitable efforts of pretty much every other religion imaginable through workplace giving — except Buddhism. That should get fixed!

  2. Doug Smith on March 27, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks so much to Ted and Bhante Bodhi for this wonderful discussion around ways that contemporary Buddhists can best confront the problems of today. Buddhist Global Relief deserves a higher profile!