Alan Senauke is a Soto Zen priest, activist, writer, and musician, honored as a pioneer of socially engaged Buddhism, passionate about peoples’ concerns internationally and at home.
In 1991, Senauke became executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF). Since 2005, he has held various leadership positions at BPF, and is currently BPF’s senior advisor. At BPF, his activist vision—nurtured in the Civil Rights movement and in the 1968 Columbia University uprising—and his Buddhist practice came together, locating BPF at the forefront of western Buddhism, engaging with structural and personal violence in this age of globalization. Senauke is a founder of Think Sangha, Buddhist social thinkers affiliated with the International Network of Engaged Buddhists in Thailand.
Three years ago, Senauke founded the Clear View Project, focusing on social change and training in Asia, particularly in Burma and among India’s Dalit Buddhists or untouchables. In the United States, Clear View teaches in prisons and works to build solidarity with exiled Burmese monks and activists. His new book is entitled The Bodhisattva’s Embrace: Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism’s Front Lines.
Senauke is a teacher in the tradition of Suzuki Roshi, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. He is vice-abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, where he lives with his family. He also serves on the boards of Zen Peacemakers and California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty. In another realm, Senauke has been a student and respected performer of American traditional music for nearly 50 years.