From Publishers Weekly
In 2002, dozens of Buddhist and Christian teachers of spirituality from around the globe gathered at the Abbey of Gethsemani (Thomas Merton's former monastery) for an interfaith dialogue to share perspectives that each faith has to offer in engaging, learning from and transforming human suffering. Though neither the Dalai Lama nor Pope John Paul II attended the conference, each contributed a brief written statement on the nature of suffering. These statements and amplifications from Buddhist and Christian attendees begin the book by clarifying each faith's perspective on the character of suffering. Subsequent chapters explore various types of suffering-including distress over personal feelings of unworthiness and alienation; being trapped in attachment to material goods in a consumer culture; violence and anger; and the challenges of aging, sickness and death-and suggestions for coping with such suffering. In the spirit of "a listening heart," and with a clear focus on what the two traditions have in common, the brief dialogues-culled from conference transcripts and edited to often a page long or less-engage one another respectfully and sometimes playfully, and are presented in a logical and enlightening way. With dialogues coming from some 49 contributors, the book fails to develop any sustained arguments or pragmatic solutions. Still, the nature of dialogue is exploration, and the book achieves its strategic goal of being a "healing source of guidance" for those trying "to build a more peaceful and united humankind."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
From the hearts and minds of some of today?s great spiritual masters comes advice on maintaining spiritual awareness and finding peace in troubled times.
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In April 2002, several of the world?s most influential Buddhist and Christian monks, nuns, and lay practitioners gathered at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to ponder contemporary life?s most difficult questions. The results of this great encounter are brought together in Transforming Suffering. These personal reflections from those who have spent their lives seeking to understand suffering and to provide spiritual guidance, inspiration, and support to those in trouble explore a wide range of difficult subjects, from the social, economic, military, and political turmoil we face today to enduring human concerns?the harmful affects of anger, hatred, and other negative emotions, the need to embrace compassion in our daily lives, the problems of aging and sickness, the loss of loved ones, facing our own mortality, and other similar personal and relational issues. His Holiness Pope John Paul II contributes his thoughts on the meaning of suffering, while His Holiness the Dalai Lama discusses the transformation of suffering. Conference participants include Thomas Keating, Joseph Goldstein, Thubten Chodron, Robert Aitken, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Mary Margaret Funk, John Daido Loori, Father Columba Stewart, and Geshe Lhundub Sopa.
As they share their experiences and the principles of their traditions, the participants demonstrate the different ways we can transform suffering for the healing of our world and ourselves.