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Engaged Buddhism in the West Paperback – April 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If Buddhism ever needed to prove itself in the field of social activism, the men and women featured in Engaged Buddhism in the West have gone beyond a shadow of a doubt. In sober, unadorned accounts, read about the dramatic life of Thich Nhat Hanh and the development of his worldwide Order of Interbeing, now numbering about 300 communities; learn about the acclaimed former mathematician turned Zen priest Bernie Glassman and his Peacemaker Order that works with the destitute and downtrodden; enter Naropa Institute, America's first accredited Buddhist-inspired college and its special program in Engaged Buddhism. Prison meditation groups, the Free Tibet Movement, walking for peace--the expressions of Buddhist activism turn out to be as varied and vibrant as the communities that spawn them. That goes for the communities of Europe, Africa, and Australia, in addition to those made up of women and gays, each of which is addressed here in a separate chapter. A collection of essays, many by academics, the tone of Engaged Buddhism in the West, can tend to the stale and analytic, with "three categories of this" and "four reasons for that." But the revelations outnumber the stumbling blocks and are sure to open many eyes. --Brian Bruya


"This book is crucial reading for all persons who care." (The Very Rev. James Park Morton, President, The Interfaith Center of New York)

"Please read this book with care and compassion for all beings. It is a deep and rich offering, an important look at the work of engaged Buddhists who have acted from their practice. The chapters in this volume show how engaged Buddhists are offering the fruits of their practice in very concrete ways in the West. These writers help us understand and gain inspiration from engaged Buddhism as it is practiced in daily life and in society today. When we study the Lotus Sutra in Plum Village, we discuss the ultimate dimension, the historical dimension, and the action dimension represented by the bodhisattvas practicing engaged Buddhism. In each moment we too can transform suffering and offer relief to ourselves and to society." (Thich Nhat Hahn)

"Here are 20 substantial, well-organized, and readable contributions on diverse groups and topics... the publication of this book could well mark the opening of a new phase in the history of engaged Buddhism." (Turning Wheel)

"A very useful introduction to the diverse, growing, and influential social action movement in Buddhism... at its best, Engaged Buddhism gives solid practial ideas for lay Buddhists to use their practice to avoid harming and to benefit others--prime directives of the Buddhist way." (The Middle Way)

"Shows us how this small and somewhat fringe movement has become a thriving form of Buddhism today... Queen and his coauthors present socially engaged Buddhism in its full diversity, complexity and vibrancy... This book provides a much-needed map, rife with concrete examples of the many manifestations of socially engaged Buddhism in the West. It is a tremendous contribution to the field, both as a resource book and a philosophical tool. The bibliography alone is excellent." (Inquiring Mind)

"These 19 essays trace the history, leadership and teachings that have given shape to this newest chapter in the Buddhist tradition, addressing such issues as violence and peace, homelessness, prisons, the environment, and race/gender inequities. Scholarly and authoritative, it is yet engaging and illuminating, the effect, as Queen says, of 'sitting around a seminar table, listening to a lively conversation.'" (NAPRA ReVIEW)

"Queen masterfully gathers voices from Western groups that practice the ethics of Buddhist engagement... Through caring, charismatic leaders, newsletters and grassroots activity, engaged Buddhist groups focus on the environment, race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, healing and stress reduction, and work as dharma practice. Scholarly yet personal, detailed yet wise to general movements, timely yet historically grounded, this is an absolute must for all who care about changing our world." (Choice)

"Broad in scope, [this book] details the work of organizations and projects throughout the world, working areas such as health, education, commerce, prison reform, the environment, peace and gender equality. Unlike other works of its kind, it reflects a more appreciative tone for the persons, groups, and events shaping the new Buddhism." (Shambhala Sun)

"In twenty absorbing, informative studies exploring Buddhist activism in the western countries and cultures, the contributors address such issues as violence and peace, race and gender, homelessness, prisons, and the environment. Engaged Buddhism in the West is a seminal, benchmark work... and a highly recommended contribution to the growing library of Buddhist literature for the Western reader." (The Midwest Book Review)

"An excellent starting point for taking another good look at what is happening to Buddhism transplanted on america-european soil..." (The Wheel of Dharma)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications; 2nd prt. edition (January 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861711599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861711598
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,288,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book definitely provides A LOT of information about wonderful people, projects and ideas curently going on in engaged bouddhist movement. It helped me to fill part of a promising worldwide movement, exciting in many ways : this is one of the active scene of the transformative assimilation of the East by the West. Many references to other books allow to deepen the prefered subjects. This book will detroy the widespread idea that bouddhists spend there time looking at their belly button looking for some unhealthy nothingness. And also if you are buddhist, it really make you think your relationship to the world by facing the good questions : does buddhist engagement mean something ? is engagement in itself a practice or even a yana ? This book really reveals that through its very new contact with the west, buddhism is today already living a transformation, that will perheaps be as deep as the hynayana/mayana transition.
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