Since the Vietnam War era, Thich Nhat Hanh has been known to North Americans as an activist for peace and justice and an interpreter of Vietnamese Buddhism and culture. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Merton were his friends.
Buddhism has entered North America in ways that are transforming both the Buddhist tradition and North American culture. Images of Buddhism have inundated advertising, sports, movies and politics. The Nobel Prize laureate Dalai Lama has become one of the icons of the age. Metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York have significant Buddhist populations.
about a religion is a dangerous thing. A generalization that had seemed safe
was that Buddhism is a peaceful religion. It's all about compassion, isn't
it—about renouncing desire and learning to empty yourself?
Against the backdrop of celebrations to mark the countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government has angered religious- freedom activists by attempting to assert greater influence over the choice of a successor to the Dalai Lama.
When disaster strikes, people turn to religion to help them answer two questions: Why did this happen? and What should we do about it? Call the first the meaning question and the second the action question.
Anyone who teaches at a secular university knows that today’s students are far more likely to know the name of a Hindu god or to practice some form of Buddhist meditation than to recognize the name of the mother of Jesus or to pray in an explicitly Christian way.
In their long struggle for equality, India’s dalits, or “untouchables,” have often exchanged their Hinduism for Islam, Christianity, Sikhism or Buddhism, believing that they will better their lives by doing so. They have been persuaded that Hinduism, with its varna ashramas (caste distinctions), has been solely responsible for all their ills.