Alan Senauke

Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism

Twenty years ago I read these words by Thich Nhat Hanh. „Mindfulness must be engaged. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. Otherwise what is the use of seeing? We must be aware of the real problems of the world.“ The unique tools of mindfulness allow us to see what is right in front of us.


Sometimes that view is close and sharp, sometimes long and wide. Yet whatever comes into view is connected, entwined, engaged, with all else in fabric of the universe. So, mindfulness is also a matter of responsibility. How to see mindfulness itself in these terms, and how to communicate it in our temples, schools, institutions, and society is the everyday work of Buddhadharma.

Hozan Alan Senauke

is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest in the tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Alan serves as vice-abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, where he lives with his wife and family. Alan is founder of the Clear View Project, developing Buddhist-based resources for relief and social change. In the last several years, Clear View has supported India’s ex-untouchable Buddhists, and Burma’s monks, nuns, and activists in their yearning for democracy. 


He was executive director of Buddhist Peace Fellowship from 1991 through 2001, and remains active in BPF as Senior Advisor. Alan is also a member of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists’ Advisory Council. His latest book is The Bodhisattva’s Embrace: Dispatches From Engaged Buddhism’s Front Lines, published by Clear View Press In another realm, Alan has been a close student and active performer of American traditional music for nearly fifty years.