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Concept of Operations Considerations for Working with Socially Engaged Buddhists in Southeast Asia for United States Navy and Marine Corps Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Missions


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My paper concentrated on a global development within Buddhism called Socially Engaged Buddhism (SEB), with a particular emphasis on groups in SE Asia. I have chosen to do this for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, SEB is a relatively new religious-political phenomenon that had its birth in the 1950s in Vietnam and continues today throughout SE Asia. Second, I focused on the three-core ethics of SEB: loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), and generous giving (dana). Understanding both the historical religious-political context and religious practice of Socially Engaged Buddhists will not only better equip the US Navy/Marine Corps Team to respect and serve alongside the people of SE Asia with the highest ideal of professionalism but will allow us to be more effective in the execution of a Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Mission. I argued the way forward in SE Asia Concept of Operations for Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Missions will be to partner with local SEB Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International SEB Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs). The main body of my thesis looked at the religious, cultural, and organizational structure of a few NGOs and INGOs that may serve as religious and cultural liaisons with US Navy and Marine Corps personnel to any Host Nations population. In addition, I presented an apparent contradiction within some corners of SEBreligiously sanctioned violence. While religiously sanctioned violence does exist in rare cases among groups that might consider themselves socially engaged, this should not diminish the importance of a collaborative partnership with NGOs and INGOs committed to non-violence.



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