Date of Award

5-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Douglas Allen

Second Committee Member

Tina Passman

Third Committee Member

Hugh Curran

Abstract

In modern capitalist society, conditions of alienation and commodification represent a crisis affecting social structure, psychological well-being, and the health of the planet. In this paper, I examine Marxist analysis of capitalist society, analyze how conditions of alienation in capitalist society have grown through time, and make a case for Engaged Buddhism as a means of reaching liberation from capitalist alienation. Through analysis of capitalist alienation, I demonstrate that the phenomenon of alienation is inseparable from oppressive social structural conditions, namely in the form of corporate domination. I examine the humanistic Marxist and the Buddhist views of liberated self and society as alternatives to the alienated capitalist conception of self and model of society. I present the humanistic Marxist view that individuals engage in self- actualization through self-determining production and harmonious relations to people and nature. I demonstrate Engaged Buddhism's socially engaged path of ethical and mindful living and power for reaching deep insight and understanding as a means for creating what Marx views as a non-alienated human society and thus progressing further toward the Bodhisattva goal of collective enlightenment.

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