Sacral socio-ecological community: theories of contemporary social catholicism and engaged Buddhism in complementary practice
Lee, Hyung Kyu
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This dissertation provides a substantive study of the faith-based Mondragón Cooperative Movement in Spain and the Indra’s Net Life Community in Korea, analyzing and critically comparing the ethical values of Catholic Social Teaching and Socially Engaged Asian Buddhism. By evaluating the extent of their success in dealing with socioecological concerns, the importance of religio-ethical values and principles to the disciplines of social and environmental ethics is stressed, offering a new, religiously sensitive approach to ecological wellbeing. As this dissertation argues, the thought and work of Mondragón and Indra’s Net offer important resources for conceptualizing ecological ethics and social justice in and among human communities. This comparison considers two questions: First, what alternative economic system might engage, in context, socioecological religious values and be implemented as an alternative to neoclassical economics? Second, what socioecological ethical principles provide effective intellectual resources to critically assess today’s global economic and ecological crises, and suggest a way to resolve them? These questions are addressed by a study of the ethical and social implications of modern economic systems, as compared to a worker-owned cooperative movement and a socially engaged Asian Buddhist liberation movement, both of which offer an alternative to current economic configurations. Inspired by the communitarian personalist thought of Mondragón’s priest-founder, José María Arizmendiarrieta, and the ecological thought of the Venerable Tobŏp, based on Huayan Buddhism’s philosophy of "interdependent co-arising" (pratītyasamupāda), these grassroots socio-ecological movements provide relevant, religion-based social and ecological teachings that present concrete proposals for economic and social practice. Social Catholicism and socially engaged Buddhism, as evidenced by these two movements, apply a dynamic social-spiritual ideology consonant with their traditions' developing social-ecological consciousness, thereby striving to promote the wellbeing of Earth, humanity, and all life.