IN THICH NHAT HANH'S MOST EXCITING and provocative book in years, he offers a dramatic vision of the future of our planet and links his contemplation of environmental destruction to the Buddhist teachings of interconnectedness and the impermanence of all things. Rather than seeing impermanence as an excuse for disengaging from the world, he argues passionately that engaging with the world is the key to our individual and collective survival. The World We Have is above all a hopeful book. Thich Nhat Hanh offers a clear vision of the road ahead and models conviction and courage that we will need to stay on that path.
Past the age of 80 now, the indefatigable Vietnamese Buddhist monk Nhat Hanh continues teaching. As peace flows from Buddhist teachings, so too does an environmental ethic rooted in awareness and interrelatedness. Nhat Hanh's engaged Buddhism, a Buddhist school that emphasizes social responsibility, takes on the task of preserving and protecting the earth. A special bodhisattva (enlightened being)--Dharanimdhara, the Earth Holder--will guide human efforts to guard and restore the natural world. No effort is too small; an Earth Peace Treaty Commitment Sheet in an appendix lists nearly 60 easy behaviors to minimize ecological impact. The Zen monk's often poetic voice redeems what might otherwise seem repetitive writing or simplistic views; seeing with the eye of the elephant queen provides deep insight. A foreword by environmental journalist Alan Weisman (The World Without Us) adds a fresh framework for understanding Nhat Hanh's Buddhist insights about interrelationships with the natural world. This is an urgent call from a revered spiritual teacher about the moral imperative to treat the earth with respectful awareness. (Oct.)
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August 31, 2008
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