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Beyond Forgiveness: Reflections on Atonement Paperback – January 25, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0470907733 ISBN-10: 0470907738 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470907738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470907733
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Beyond Forgiveness shows how acts of atonement—making amends, providing restitution, restoring balance—can relieve us of the pain of the past and give us a hopeful future. The book contains fifteen thoughtful contributions from high-profile thinkers and activists including, among others, Huston Smith, Michael Bernard Beckwith, Jacob Needleman, Arun Gandhi, Diane Hennacy Powell, Azim Noordin Khamisa, Rabbi Michael Lerner, James O'Dea, Reverend Heng Sure, Kate Dahlstedt, and Edward Tick.

"If we harbor thoughts of violence or hatred, or seek revenge or retribution, we are contributing to the wounding of the world; if we transform those thoughts into forgiveness and compassion, and then make amends or restitution, we are contributing to the healing of the world. This timely, powerful, and compassionate book helps show us the way."
Deepak Chopra, author of The Book of Secrets and The Path to Love

"Nothing will help us survive the present age more than breaking the tragic cycles of violence and revenge. To do so, we must honor our soul's desire for deeper forms of reconciliation, a process that Phil Cousineau reveals here as the ritual act of atonement. His book is a profoundly important contribution to the healing of the world. I give it my blessing."
Robert A. Johnson, author of Transformation, Inner Work, and Owning Your Own Shadow

"Beyond Forgiveness: Reflections on Atonement is an inspiring, practical, and compelling book, relevant for our times. Cousineau provides a profound and provocative book that has us ponder where we might need to forgive ourselves and others and to look at atonement and what it ignites in the human spirit."
Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., author of The Second Half of Life

About the Author

Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, editor and lecturer, cultural observer and TV host. He has published twenty-six nonfiction books, written fifteen documentary films, and is currently the host and co-writer of Global Spirit on Link TV. Learn more at

Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
It is a very readable book.
Joan Ishibashi
It is beautiful, loving and serves as a guide for the most important work a human can to forgive self first then others.
The result is a profound testament to the healing power of the human spirit, and a clear guide to appropriate action.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By SMW in USA on February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
There are many books out there right now on Forgiveness, and rightfully so, since forgiveness is one of the most healing acts that we can do for ourselves and others. But there are no other books, to my knowledge, that also focus on atonement, which is defined in this book as the companion of forgiveness, the missing piece between forgiveness and reconciliation. Just by reading the introduction to the book, I realized that I was delving into territory I had never thought about before, territory that I needed to explore.

Atonement is something many of us have come to associate only with religion, and that is a shame. I thought the same thing until I read the book, which opened up a new door of understanding for me. This is a collection of essays written by authors from different religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, authors of mixed race and gender and experience. Each one has a different story of atonement to tell, and by reading through all the essays together, I was able to see the value of atonement as a universally-healing act.

It is difficult for me to explain the impact that this book had on me, because its effects are subtle and profound, and still making themselves known. As I read through the book I saw myself in all the essays. In some of the essays I saw my political self, and in others, my family self, my student self, my intimate relationship self. The essays reveal different faces of atonement, and suggest how it can be used to heal our selves, our relationships with others, and even our broken socio-cultural structures. Beyond Forgiveness is not marketed as a self-help book; it is not an academic book; and it is not a mere set of stories. It is a philosophical work and at the same time a practical guide.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Palma Puzzuoli on March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is for anyone who wants to get a deeper understanding of how atonement can bring peace to one's heart and to the planet. It is a must read for people of all ages.

The different perspectives on atonement which are compiled in this extraordinary book are inspiring and enlightening. As one of the contributing authors Katharine Dever explains, "It is only the action, restitution, or required gesture that fully rights a wrong." We have all faced injustices in our lives at one time or another and we have all made mistakes. This book challenges us to look more closely at our own actions and see the interconnectedness of all life. Whether it be at the individual level or at a group level, it is through atonement that wrongs can be healed and peace created.

Like all of Phil Cousineau's books, this is a thought provoking book on a very relevant topic for our times. I highly recommend it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joan Ishibashi on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Thank you, Phil Cousineau for assembling such a rich and diverse array of essays on the topic of atonement. The word "atonement" sometimes conjures up images of dark, boring theological discussions, but these thoughtful reflections give real life meaning to healing and making amends. It is a very readable book. I was especially struck by Khamisa's chapter on "After the Death of My Son" where he talks about forgiving and reaching out to the man who murdered his son, and dedicating his own life to ending the cycle of children's violence.

This is a book that offers heartfelt reflection and hope in a broken and conflicted world. I discovered a website with guides for individual or group study of this book: [...]. This is truly a modern and multi-faceted approach to a topic that has either been neglected or narrowly interpreted.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Leach on March 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
In a time of upheaval like perhaps no other in Earth's history, we are facing innumerable challenges with one requisite origin: wounding. We have wounded ourselves, our planet, one another. We have piled up our bulwarks and allowed ego and greed to rule the day. We've isolated ourselves from first and foremost our inner being, not to mention the lives of others irregardless of their background or place of birth. As a humanity we've held a grudge--let's face it--against Life itself.

This book takes a multicultural and wide approach to the innate power that can overcome this seeming tidal wave of anger and rejection: the power inlaid within forgiveness, inlaid within going to the root cause and core of wounding and the wound. The chapters are a rich array of traditions, beliefs, world-views, practices that will deepen and expand the reader's ability to apply forgiveness and healing in their own lives and beyond. By doing that which we may fear most--going into the heart and core of the wound--we find the path back to wholeness and healing. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu so aptly states--for healing to occur, one must gently open the wound, tell the story, tell the truth, share the pain of that wound. Then and only then can the healing begin and balm applied.

I consider "Beyond Forgiveness" to be one of the most important books of our time, as it addresses one of--if not the most--core reasons that we as a humanity are perched at the edge of deepening crises--or--possible opportunities to evolve to the higher reaches of our collective heart and soul.

Thanks to Azim Khamisa, Phil Cousineau and all the contributors. I happen to work with the author of the closing essay, "Creative Atonement in a Time of Peril", James O'Dea ([...]), and am also grateful to him for his steadfast presence in the world as a two-legged beacon of service to peace and the healing of our global heart.
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