Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons - Foreword

Buddhist Themes in Modern Fantasy

Foreword

A true realization will be true in all times and cultures, available to be found by anyone. This book, exploring the appearance of Buddhist wisdoms in unexpected places, and with its profound recognition of the importance of story and myth to our ways of moving through the world, is a provocative confirmation of the teaching found in one of the most central of Buddhist texts. The Lotus Sutra tells us that the rain that falls on multitudinous landscapes and is taken in by many different animals and plants remains one rain; that the sea’s flavor is salt, whatever coastline it touches. For its illustration of that alone, the contribution David Loy and Linda Goodhew offer here is significant.

But the real value of these pages lies in the way The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons investigates the deep questions of our current times—questions not different from those that faced Shakyamuni Buddha 2,500 years ago. How are we to live once we have entered into an aware engagement with suffering? What is the right action of compassion in the face of greed, delusion, and hate? That the Buddha’s discoveries can be useful in seeing our way two and a half millennia later is not surprising. What exhilarates in this book is the way that making conscious the intersection of those discoveries with the imaginations of Tolkien, Le Guin, Ende, Miyazaki, and Pullman deepens our understanding not only of the fantasy tales and films considered here, but also of the Dharma itself.

This is a book whose pleasures reverberate profoundly, and a book that holds in its words the energies of genuine awakening. Its effects go deeper than the intellect, they penetrate to the heart. Let us praise the originality of David Loy and Linda Goodhew’s thinking, the clarity of their writing, the pleasure of their sentences, and the important contribution they make to the ongoing dialogue of Buddhism and Western culture. Nine bows to them for bringing forth this superb book.

Jane Hirshfield