By Wayne R. Husted, Damien Keown

It's tricky to consider a extra pressing query for Buddhism within the overdue 20th century than human rights. The political, moral and philosophical questions surrounding human rights are debated vigorously in political and highbrow circles in the course of the international and now during this quantity.

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In a cryptic sense,,however, it means that the totality of experiencehas no borders to speak of. " It is a non-circumscribabletotality, like a circle sensed which does not have a nluncled line, a seamlesscircle, if you will. A strange phenomenon, indeed, but that is how the Buddhist seesthe uature of individual existence as such. For the mystery of existence that haunts us is really the nature of clne's own fullest momentary existence. Nothing else comparesin profundity to this nature, so the Buddhist believes.

For one thing, it would be curiouo if only texts on thesesubjects had been lost to history while --_---l 16 Keown literature on all manner of other topics abounds. Nor can it be a coincidence that these subjects are absent from the traditional monastic curricula. " The Chinese invasion of Tibet, the bitter ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, andlhe experience of military dictatorship in countries such as Burma have all provided contemporary Buddhism with first-hand experience of the issues at stake. Another development which has done much to focus attention on social and political themes is the emergence of "socially engaged Buddhism," a movement whose very name implies a critique of the more traditional (presumably "disengaged")formsof Buddhism.

G lt-,ir kila t"rpt*d-thr p"bl*ation of other declarations, "f [6G*s and manifestos in a tradition which has continued into modern times. 18, since iis promulgation this thirty-artisle code has been used as a model for many subsequent human rightfi charter;. it r. ^f Klndf lt m-aVDeTseful to begin by asking whether Buddhism would endorse r --tAFtv -The Univcrsal Declaration of Human Rights. The repeated calls by the Dalai it would. to. t f,r. * n^. t"rg. or manifestos ". which seek to secure universal human rights.

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