Sulak Sivaraksa, Buddhist spiritual leader and international activist, is known for advocating social change and development based on an engaged Buddhism. Over the course of his long career, he has been arrested three times for his criticism of the Thai monarchy. Katherine Marshall sat down with him recently to discuss his own spiritual journey and his vision for Buddhism.
Can you speak a bit about how you got where you are, and particularly about how faith came into play in your life?
I was born in 1933 and was brought up as a Buddhist. My parents were not very spiritual. I was sent to a Catholic school, and I got my degree from the Anglican college. I didn’t like the school. They used to treat me very badly, and they used to beat me because I didn’t want to learn by rote. My parents said, “We have tried to bring you up in a Catholic and a Protestant school. Would you like to be a monk?” I said, “Yes, why not?”