Stephanie Kaza and Kenneth Kraft, eds. Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism. Boston, Mass.: Shambhala, 2000. Paperback, 491 pp.
As concern over the present-day environmental crisis moves into the foreground of people’s attention, we need more works that look at this grave problem from a sound spiritual perspective. Buddhism, with its long history of compassionate wisdom, has a great deal to contribute to this vitally important subject, and yet, books espousing a Buddhist environmental perspective are few and far between.
Kaza and Kraft’s anthology is the most significant and accessible publication for the layperson to date. The 74 contributions, drawn from both traditional and contemporary sources, are organized into seven parts: Teachings from Buddhist Traditions; Contemporary Interpretations of the Teachings; Buddhism in the World; Environmental Activism as Buddhist Practice; Home Practice, Wild Practice; Challenges in Buddhist Thought and Action, and Passages for Ceremony and Daily Practice. Each section has a short introduction, and there is also a longer orientational introduction to the whole book.
The contributions are predictably wide ranging and idiosyncratic, expressed in prose and poetry and covering key aspects of the bodhisattva path, consumerism, globalization, passionate and responsible practice, Buddhist politics and ethics, and so forth.
The many voices in this volume signal Buddhism’s breadth and depth, as well as its respect for individual self-expression. This excellent combined effort between a professor of environmental studies ( Kaza) and a professor of religious studies (Kraft) will be found stimulating and encouraging by all thoughtful readers, whether Buddhist or not, who are wondering about the larger philosophical context for environmental activism.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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