Eudaimonistic Buddhism: Can Metta Transform and Redirect Our Societies and Save Our Environment?

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Michael Vermeulen

Abstract

This ideology of infinite competition, infinite growth, and infinite consumption that
our culture has been exposed to for over half a century denies one of our most fundamental
characteristics: our ability and desire to cooperate. We are exposed to more temptations
leading to addictions in our society than ever before. Consumerism stimulates us to shop, to
eat, to click on our smartphones day and night. Could it be that social disconnection is the
main drive for our consumerist economy; the main drive that keeps the greed and competition
in Wall Street steaming ahead to destruction? This ideology of infinite competition, infinite
growth, and infinite consumption that our culture has been exposed to for over half a century
denies one of our most fundamental characteristics: our ability and desire to cooperate. When
we put human flourishing instead of unlimited growth at the heart of our economy; when
we put friendly environments at the heart of our politics; in other words when we make it
clear in all our economic and political actions that we will leave no one behind; we can cure
humanity of its addictions, redirect our economy and politics, and save our one and only
planet. This paper looks to explore how Buddhism can contribute to human development,
using a comparative study of Eudaimonistic politics and economics to create and protect an
open benevolent society by eradicating the three addictive poisons that are at the heart of
Buddhist spirituality.

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How to Cite
Vermeulen, M. (2018). Eudaimonistic Buddhism: Can Metta Transform and Redirect Our Societies and Save Our Environment?. The Journal of International Association of Buddhist Universities (JIABU), 11(3), 340–353. Retrieved from https://so06.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/Jiabu/article/view/219827
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Article
Author Biography

Michael Vermeulen, Medicine and Theology & Religious Studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium

Dr. Michael Vermeulen was the Representative of the European Buddhist Union (EBU) to the European Union from 2011 to 2015. He studied Philosophy, Medicine and Theology & Religious Studies at the University of Leuven (Belgium), and was rewarded 'summa cum laude' for his thesis ‘Ethical end-of-life decisions in Buddhism’. He now works as a medical doctor and a writer.
Dr. Michael Vermeulen is a co-founder of the Rainbow Sangha (the EBU network for LGBT Buddhists and allies) and contributed to the Report on Religion and Human Rights (Chapter on Sexual Orientation and Sexual Gender Identity) by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (2010).
He also participated in United Nations meetings in Geneva on Human Rights and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 he was a speaker at the opening session of the United Nations Vesak Conference in Bangkok on 'Buddhist Contribution for Human Development.'

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