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11.3: Chapter Summary

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    As a Buddhist example of the way of right action, the Sarvodaya movement in Sri Lanka coordinates large numbers of lay and monastic Buddhists in communal self-help efforts to improve social and economic conditions of rural villages. Sarvodaya means "the awakening and welfare of all." Animating every phase of the movement is an awakening to Buddhist values creatively reinterpreted in a way that makes their relevance to lived social relationships more apparent and their meaning more readily implemented by all. Present suffering, for example, is not regarded primarily as a private concern of the individual and the fated product of choices in past lives as in much of conventional Buddhism; rather is it seen as a concern of the whole community. As such, suffering is regarded as something that locally coordinated effort can do something to alleviate. In other words, as Sarvodaya understands it, the Dhamma of the Buddha is concerned with bringing an end to suffering and has a unique orientation to how it should be done. Members of Sarvodaya are committed to implementing that vision in a social way.

    Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement that she and Peter Maurin founded are presented as a Christian example of the way of right action. In the heart of urban America the Catholic Worker movement attempts to articulate and embody a social vision grounded in the Christian Gospel that is radically alternative to the dominant social order-a vision of a society organized around respect for each person. The Catholic Worker Movement envisions a society made up of voluntary, self-sustaining communities of sharing and mutual aid, where no one starves or goes homeless, where violence and coercion have no place, and where change comes from first changing oneself and then changing the lives of others by the moral force of example and nonviolent action. Not content merely to hold up this vision and call for changes in the existing order, from the beginning Catholic Workers have put flesh on their ideas through concrete acts of mercy to individual persons, starting soup kitchens, establishing some forty houses of hospitality, and organizing a dozen farm communes. Voluntary poverty, service to the poor, and radical pacificism-all in the service of Christ-have kept the movement small but simultaneously have given it a profoundly influential status as a voice of conscience for American Christianity.

    This page titled 11.3: Chapter Summary is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dale Cannon (Independent) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.