Photographs - Day 1



Photographs - Day 2



Photographs - Day 3


A Conference on Buddhism and Social Justice
23-25 April 2014, Leiden University

Pavilion building, Museum Volkenkunde
Steenstraat 1, Leiden

Moving away from a common perception of Buddhism as intrinsically a tradition of peace and justice, our project—based at Leiden University—explores the various ways in which historically Buddhist societies have shaped, transmitted, and adapted Buddhist ideas and ideals about equality, fairness, and freedom. We are further interested in how (if at all) such societies have instantiated these ideas and ideals.

The conference “Buddhism and Social Justice” gathers scholars to discuss Classical and modern Buddhist notions of justice and their real world reflexes. We are most centrally concerned with Buddhist visions—implicit or explicit—of ideal (just) societies and the role of human action, as these appear, for instance, in the realms of freedom and its constraints, social hierarchy and mobility, economic opportunity, and power and self-determination.

The full text of the initial proposal upon which our project was based, and other information about our research team, and the conference itself, can be consulted on our website.

Scholars presenting at the conference will address issues of Buddhism and Social Justice from a descriptive, rather than prescriptive, point of view, coming together to share their expertise, findings and questions. Papers will deal with many regions within Asia and range in time from the earliest days of Buddhism to the present day.

Guests are free to attend, but we regret we cannot offer any assistance to guests in applying for visas to travel to the Netherlands. Questions can be sent to 

View/download Abstracts here (PDF)


Audio (Click below to hear each lecture)

Paulus Kaufmann - Roles of Justice in Kūkai’s Ethical Theory

Vincent Eltschinger - The Yogācārabhūmi’s Critique of the Brahmanical Account of the Caste-Classes

Steve Collins - On the 'gentle violence' of a stable social order

Berthe Jansen - The Impact of the Monastic Institution on Society and Social Justice in Pre-modern Tibet

Johan Elverskog - Buddhism as Colonialism: Mining and Social Exploitation on the Commodity Frontier

Nam-Lin Hur - Buddhism and War: Senriji’s Monthly Newsletters and Shinshū Teachings in Modern Japan, 1929-1944

Thomas Kim - Temple Slaves and Monks as Landlords: Issues of Doctrinal Allegiance and Institutional Pragmatism in the Joseon Period

Vincent Tournier - Cosmogony, Anti-caste Arguments and Royal Epics: the Aggañña Myth and Its Scriptural Contexts


Visit the page of our conference

Chinese Buddhism and the Scholarship of Erik Zürcher.

View information on Buddhist Studies in Leiden here

Buddhism and Social Justice Project Contact information:

Postal address

Buddhism & Social Justice
P.O. Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Email Contact