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Conflict, Culture, Change:
Engaged Buddhism in a Globalizing World
Sivaraksa, Sulak

Editeur - Casa editrice

Wisdom Publications (MA)


Anno - Date de Parution


Pagine - Pages


Titolo originale

Conflict, Culture, Change: Engaged Buddhism in a Globalizing World

Lingua - language - langue


Conflict, Culture, Change:  

From Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sulak Sivaraksa comes this look at Buddhism's innate ability to help change the world. He explores the cultural and environmental impacts of consumerism, nonviolence, and compassion in the post 9/11 world. Special attention is given to such ideas as the integration of mindfulness and social activism, the use of Buddhist ethics to confront structural violence; globalizations's threat to traditional identity; and the example of the recent transformation of Thailand.
"Sulak is one of the heroes of our time, offering us deep wisdom and refreshingly sane alternatives to the Earth-destroying religions of consumerism, greed, and exploitation." Joanna Macy.
"Known as one of Asia's leading social thinkers, Sulak Sivaraksa sees the goals of Buddhist development as equality, love, freedom, and liberation." Aung San Suu Kyi.
"An irrepressible campaigner for a sane and just society, Sulak unites the strengths of a traditional Dharmic sensibility with the critical rigour of a Western-educated intellectual. His life offers an heroic example of engaged Buddhism in practice." Stephen Batchelor.


Recensione in altra lingua (English):

Paperback, 152pp pages, 228 x 152mm, Wisdom Publications, 2005

Recensione in lingua italiana

Sulak Sivaraksa, born 1933, is a prominent and outspoken Thai intellectual and social critic. He is a teacher, a scholar, a publisher, an activist, the founder of many organisations, and the author of more than a hundred books and monographs in both Thai and English.

Sulak's life and times
Educated in England and Wales, Sulak returned to Siam in 1961 at the age of 28 and founded Sangkhomsaat Paritat (Social Science Review). This became Siam's foremost intellectual magazine, dealing with numerous political and social issues during the time of the military dictatorship. Sulak's work editing Sangkhomsaat Paritat led him to become interested in grassroots issues. He learned that to truly serve society, one must stay in touch with the poor people. Beginning in the late 1960s he became involved in a number of service-oriented, rural development projects, in association with Buddhist monks and the student activist community.

During the 1970s Sulak became the central figure in a number of non-governmental organisations in Siam. These include the Komol Keemthong Foundation (named for a young teacher killed in 1971), the Pridi Banomyong Institute (named for the father of Thai democracy), the Slum Childcare Foundation, the Co-ordinating Group for Religion and Society, the Thai Inter-Religious Commission for Development and Santi Pracha Dhamma Institute. Through his involvement with these organisations, Sulak began to develop indigenous, sustainable, and spiritual models for change. Since then he has expanded his work to the regional and international levels. He has co-founded the Asian Cultural Forum on Development and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists.

In 1976 Siam experienced its bloodiest coup. Hundreds of students were killed and thousands were jailed. The military burnt the whole stock of Sulak's bookshop and issued an order for his arrest. Although Sulak was forced to remain in exile for two years, he was able to continue his activist work in the West. He lectured at the University of California Berkeley, Cornell University, the University of Toronto, and throughout Europe.

In 1984 he was arrested in Bangkok on charges of criticising the King, but international protest led to his eventual release. In 1991 another warrant was issued for his arrest and Sulak was forced into political exile once more. He came back to fight the case in the court in 1992 and won in 1995. At the end of that year he was granted the Right Livelihood Award, also known as Alternative Nobel Prize.

He sees Buddhism as a questioning process. Question everything, including oneself, look deeply, and then act from that insight. He is among a handful of leaders world-wide working to a revive the socially engaged aspects of spirituality.

Whatever he does, however he does it, at the core of his work is a mission to build a new leadership for change at all levels, within Siam as well as outside it.

Much pioneer work has been accomplished, and the foundations for meaningful social change have been laid. Now the challenge is whether this spiritual, activist vision can be sustained and kept growing as a stronger and more influential movement in the medium and long-term. As our visionary leader grows older, more and more responsibility falls on the younger leaders and NGO's he has so carefully nurtured over the last thirty years.

Sulak has given many who have contacted him, and read his words, a unique perspective on how to work for peaceful, sustainable social change using the principles and practices of Buddhism as a personal and political resource. He has demonstrated that the interior life of spiritual contemplation, and the exterior life of political action, need not be considered opposites or hostile to each other. On the contrary, he has shown that each may be used to illuminate and inform and encourage the other, and indeed that this is essential if either is to change for the better.