History of Spiritual Activism

with Jungwon Kim

Filed under:

Collective Healing

This presentation contains ASL interpretation

Spiritual activism is a foundational principle of Buddhism that has helped build movements in social and racial justice around the world. What can we learn from this practice and how does it apply to our daily work?


Books/Literary Texts/Articles:


  • Oren Lyons: Faithkeeper of the Wolf Clan of the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy

Who/What to Follow

  • Thich Nhat Hanh: Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk, author, and founder of Plum Village community of mindfulness. See: Being Peace, Love in Action, Love Letter to the Earth, and The Miracle of Mindfulness

  • H.H. Dalai Lama

  • Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (founder of the radical Buddhist Dalit Liberation Movement)

  • Buddhist Peace Fellowship

  • International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

  • Mohandas K. Gandhi (Note: controversies on racism in early writings and possibly non-consensual sleeping alongside young women to prove his celibacy)

  • Swami Agnivesh (Vepa Shyam Rao)

  • Christian spiritual activism leaders (compiled by Imani E. Wilson @downhearbelow)

Photo of

Jungwon Kim

Jungwon Kim leads the creative and editorial team at the Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit organization founded on the understanding that people and nature can thrive in harmony. Interdependence is also at the heart of her personal spiritual practice of engaged Buddhism in the tradition of zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (“Thay”), a global spiritual leader, author, and activist who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jungwon received teachings from Thay during mindfulness retreats he led at Blue Cliff Monastery in 2009 and 2013. She has since co-founded two sanghas that approach spiritual transformation as inseparable from collective liberation. “A sangha is a community of resistance, resisting the speed, violence, and unwholesome ways of living that are prevalent in our society.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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