Engaged Buddhism in the West - Praise

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

“Chris Queen has done a great service in bringing together a book that is sure to close the gaps that presently exist among the very diverse and widespread groups of Buddhists actively engaged in social action. This well-researched collection of essays makes it clear that a powerful movement is underway, a movement which will doubtless be regarded as one of Western Buddhisms major contributions to the evolution of Buddhadharma.”—John Daido Loori, Abbot, Zen Mountain Monastery

Engaged Buddhism in the West will become one of the essential books that changes the way we understand, and think about, Western Buddhism. Chris Queen has assembled a uniquely diverse group of scholars, practitioners, and scholar-practitioners who collectively give us a compelling portrait of the complex varieties of engaged Buddhist practice that are emerging in the West. Framed between Queens lucid and highly provocative introduction and Kenneth Krafts stimulating concluding chapter on new voices in engaged Buddhist studies, each chapter in Engaged Buddhism in the West helps weave part of the rich and detailed fabric that Western Buddhism has become. Queen is surely correct in suggesting that engaged Buddhism offers a worldview and praxis that is both fresh and unprecedented in the history of Buddhism.”—Charles Prebish, Penn State University, editor of Religious Studies Review

“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

“First and foremost, these are human stories that enable us to see the human faces, the particular lives, the actions and choices of Buddhists living in the West who engage its dilemmas as Buddhists. Along the way, the reader will find considerable substance for practical ethical reflection and spurs to creative thinking about what Buddhism ‘is’ and can be.”—Prof. Sallie B. King, Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, James Madison University

“Chris Queens Engaged Buddhism in the West is a fine map of the activist path. This is a book we have needed for a long time. It is a pleasure to learn from scholars who are themselves steeped in engagement and critical analysis. I know that the rich teachings contained in these essays will nourish the ongoing work of liberation.”—Alan Senauke, Executive Director, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

“This is a priceless tapestry of many colors, woven of many voices. It reveals how diverse and creative the role of Buddhism has become in helping people work for peace, justice, and a sustainable society.”—Joanna Macy, author of Coming Back to Life

“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

“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, Amazon.com

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

“Queen, a lecturer on religious studies at Harvard, profiles the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and other groups whose work, in his view, is contributing to the creation of vital new social institutions and relationships. In this sequel to his earlier collection, Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia, Queen has collected essays from well known Western scholars and practitioners of engaged Buddhism, including Judith Simmer-Brown, Paula Green, and Susan Moon. Moon, editor of the BPFs magazine, Turning Wheel, interviews several activist women, notably Joanna Macy, Paula Green, Sala Steinbeck, and Melody Ermachild Davis. Other authors address pressing social concerns, from the environment and prison life to racial tensions and right livelihood. The purpose of the book ... is to report on the state of engaged Buddhism as it matures in the West, which it does engagingly. ...[H]elpful to any anyone whos wondering what others are doing, or where to jump in.”—Awakening Mind