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Buddhist Peacework -- Creating Cultures of Peace Paperback – May 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eighteen Buddhist leaders respond here to the recent United Nations document Declaration on the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace. Peace, according to the collection's editor, is more than merely the inner tranquillity sometimes ascribed to Buddhism; it requires the recognition that all beings suffer, and that "we are not separate from others." The book's contributors include monks and laypersons from the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions, speaking not just theoretically about peace, but from their personal experiences of life in war-ravaged or unjust societies. Vietnamese exile Thich Nhat Hahn writes of his efforts to rescue the "boat people" who fled his home country in the 1970s, while Dhammachari Lokamitra recounts the resurgence of Buddhism in India, its country of origin, where thousands of "Untouchables" seek a religion that will uproot the hierarchical foundations of the caste system. The various essays offer examples of Buddhist initiatives for peace all over the world, from Myanmar to Los Alamos; such "engaged Buddhists" agitate on issues such as the environment, nuclear arms, interreligious dialogue, homelessness, hunger and women's rights. The contributors' perspectives on peace are illuminating, but the most intriguing stories deal with the justice-oriented offshoots of the Buddhist tradition, such as the revival of Chontae Buddhism in Korea. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Buddhists have suffered immeasurably from the brutality and injustice of the modern world; from this crucible has emerged a remarkable generation of buddhist leadership intently focused on peacebuilding. This volume makes available--for the first time in one place--first-person statements of the ideas and work of such eminent Buddhist leaders as H.H. the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Maha Ghosananda, A.T. Ariyaratne, Daisaku Ikeda, Shih Cheng-yen, Sulak Sivaraksa, and Robert Aitken: a cornucopia of visionary and creative social engagement." (Sallie B. King, Professor of Religion, James Madison University, and co-editor of Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia)

"This book is a welcome and highly readable addition to the growing literature on religiously inspired efforts toward world peace. It enlarges and deepens the discussion by asking not only the obvious questions about responsibility and engagement but also the seldom asked and uncomfortable questions about the role of the community and of the individual." (Harvey Cox, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School)

"This diverse collection of essays will be useful for courses in peace studies, especially those exploring the complex but crucial issues surrounding the role of religion, spirituality, moral behavior, and individual responsibility in creating and strengthening cultures of peace." (Paul Joseph, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University, and Chair, Peace Studies Association)

"This marvelous and inspiring book is like the strong timber found in old bridge spans. May each of us, like the friends in this book, be a strong and joyful bridge that helps numberless beings and communities find their way to peace." (From the foreword by Joan Halifax Roshi, Head Teacher, Upaya Zen Center)

"The assortment of essays in Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures of Peace, edited by David W. Chappell, greatly enriches the discourse surrounding Buddhist peace potential and activities. Created as a response to the United Nations' Declaration of the year 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace and UNESCO's Declaration of the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace, the collection contains writings by both monastic and lay Buddhists, including Shih Cheng-yen, Thich Nhat Hanh, Stephanie Kaza, and the Dalai Lama. Chappell concedes that 'this volume does not offer theories of peace, but is a report on work in progress.' This is an important distinction, because although Buddhism is commonly revered as a means for achieving inner peace, its capacity to promote and actively bring about external social change is often overlooked. As Joan Halifax notes in the foreword, 'Making peace...is about the most basic realization that enlightenment is not an individual experience, rather it is the liberation of intimacy in our relatedness with all beings.' These writings teach us to view humanity through a lens of intense compassion, recognizing the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things. They present Buddhists' guiding principles and present responses to socioeconomic, gender, cultural, environmental, and political injustice and oppression. The contributors' offerings of new visions and methods allow us to both evaluate and strengthen our own understandings of nonviolence and the clearest ways to peace." (FOR: The Fellowship of Reconciliation)

"A collection of essays that is bound to create hope and give inspiration... filled with the inspiring work of many dedicated people all over the world, many of them wonderful writers... Buddhist Peacework provides ample examples and fresh ideas for those who want to work toward a culture of peace." (Turning Wheel)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (May 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086171167X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861711673
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,625,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures Of Peace draws together essays by a series of outstanding commentators offering a Buddhist perspective on such timely issues as building inclusive communities, rebuilding moral cultures, and securing inner peace through acts of "outer kindness". Buddhist Peacework is a superb contribution to the growing library of Buddhist literature and will be welcome reading for students of comparative religion and peace activists.
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This is an inspiring, insightful and informative collection of essays for anyone interested in social justice, Buddhism, spiritual activism or interreligious cooperation. The essays in this book are written by committed Buddhist practitioners and activists, who are putting Buddhist principles to work in the world - who are engaged Buddhists. Each is building peace in his or her own way, whether through education, the practice of nonviolent resistance, social justice and welfare, community building, environmental protection, meditation, interreligious cooperation, and other ways. And within each is the spiritual foundation of Buddhism - using "our religious heritage as a living resource" is the way that Venerable Somdech Preah maha Ghosananda states it.
Joan Halifax Roshi says in the foreword, "Peace...is a process, not a goal. It unfolds in the very details of our daily lives as well as in the broad brush strokes of the big picture."
This book is a testament to that process. There are a number of Buddhist inspired and rooted peace projects going on all over the world. One cannot help but feel positive about the countless people and organizations committed to peaceful transformation of societies, working on a daily basis, step-by-step. It is truly inspiring. Not only has it made me feel very good about Buddhist peacework and activism, but it has also educated me on sophisticated leaders and the Buddhist teachings that form the basis for their peacemaking and justice activities. This is a valuable resource for students of religious studies, peace studies, engaged Buddhism, social work, spiritually inspired activism, and ecological activism.
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Format: Paperback
The book provides "reports from the field" on grass-roots Buddhist peace activities around the world. Readers will gain a greater understanding of the new trends in Buddhist social engagement.
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Arrival of book was prompt and in appropriate packaging. For those interested in perspectives of understanding peacebuilding from the minds of eminent Buddhist leaders this collection gives one real life examples of finding that there remains religiously based ideas of cultivating peace. Thought provoking essays encourage the citizens of this tumultous world to take notice that when the responsibilities of individuals and communities, across cultures, seek socially engaged conversations that the skilful means for peace become possible A very readable collection of essays that I respectfully recommend.
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