Question:
Buddhists have been accused of living a solitary existence in pursuit of enlightenment. What do you think about this?

Thai Answer: Engaged Buddhism suggests that we have to get off our butts and do something. For instance, many villages have a fundamental problem with trash. In the past things were wrapped in banana leaves that decayed and went away naturally; now so many things are wrapped in plastic and foam — this has become a big problem. How are we going to solve this? We could fine people; and come down hard on them. But Thai people prefer a milder, gentler way. You have to embarrass Thai people in a subtler way, shame them a bit. I was thinking, there are three main postures of meditation: sitting, standing, and laying down. Perhaps we need some people, Buddhist activists, to assume a posture of standing with a trash bag, silently, at key points in the village. People would soon get the message, and I suspect that they would soon be dropping trash into the bags as they walked by. The local people might call these people “crazy” at first, but we shouldn’t care about that. True Buddhists have to be willing to be a bit crazy. This could be one form of quiet activism.