Melvin McLeod, ed. Mindful Politics: A Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place. Boston, Mass.: Wisdom Publications, 2006. Paperback, 317 pp.
An anthology like this should have been published decades ago. We all know, politics sucks. It is largely a playground for (individual and national) egoes that are fixated on power and self-advantage. The present volume, compiled by the editor-in-chief of Shambhala Sun magazine, consists of twenty-nine very readable contributions that envision politics as a humanitarian enterprise focused on the betterment and upliftment of all human societies. As H.H. the Dalai Lama puts it in his opening essay: “We must remember that the different religions, ideologies, and political systems of the world are meant for human beings to achieve happiness.”
Why is it that this simple and patent truth is ignored or even denied by many of those who supposedly act in the interest others? Instead of being public servants, politicians more often than not end up being a nemesis for peace-loving citizens. This being the case, it is all the more important to participate in the political process as long as we are free to do so.
Melvin McLeod has assembled a galaxy of notables with spiritual credentials, who can shed light on how to humanize politics and—dare we hope?—politicians. Delightfully, even Jerry Brown, a former governor of California, makes sense. How can the Buddha’s wisdom not guide us in that most human of activities called “conflict resolution,” or politics?
This anthology should be must reading for all aspiring or seasoned politicians, and it also should be placed in the hands of anyone old enough to vote.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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