Welcome to

The Dharma of Social and Ecological Engagement

A Wisdom Academy Online Course with David R. Loy

Lesson 1: Personal and Social Transformation

Welcome to preview mode! You can view the first video and, if this course offers guided meditations, the first meditation of the first lesson.

This first class lays the foundations for understanding the Dharma of social and ecological engagement, particularly how the Judeo-Christian prophetic tradition developed into Western emphasis on social justice (institutional transformation), and how this relates to what the Buddhist tradition teaches about individual liberation (personal transformation).

Click here for guidance on how to progress through the lesson.

  • 1. Watch

    1. Watch 1.


      In this video, David introduces the central themes, and questions of the course, opening the discussion as to how the timeless wisdom of the Buddha can be a transformative force in the 21st-century.

      Video 1

  • 2. Read

    1. Read 1.

      In this selection from A New Buddhist Path, David Loy shows us that to face the unique challenges of life in the 21st-century, we need to see the Buddhist emphasis on liberation from suffering, and the Western ideal of social justice as equally necessary, and complementary approaches.

  • 3. Practice

    1. Practice 1.

      In this audio reflection, David Loy invites us to explore Buddhist notion of impermanence in relationship to how the tradition itself may have to adapt in order to serve the world we live in now. After listening, please feel free to spend 10-15 minutes in silent contemplation.

      Download this Meditation   |  View Transcript  |  Print Transcript

      From its beginnings Buddhism has emphasized impermanence, and insubstantiality. Things are changing all the time. What does this mean for Buddhism itself? Is Buddhism what the Buddha said, or what the Buddha began? In what ways should Buddhism change today? In what ways should it not change? How do we avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater? How do we distinguish between the baby, and the bathwater? What areas of engagement, and ways of engaging, are implied by your understanding of Buddhist teachings, and practices?

  • 4. Quiz

    1. 1

      Quiz 1

      15 minutes