"I believe that Buddhism is unique in the range of its meditation practices that can transform the way we live together, which is to say, the way we live politically. I see Mindful Politics as a practice book, an offering of Buddhist wisdom, insight, and meditations to help us on our path as responsible and caring citizens," writes editor Melvin McLeod in the introduction to this collection of essays by 34 Buddhist authors. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Journal. He is also the editor of the annual Best Buddhist Writing collections.
This paperback is divided into three sections: View, Practice, and Actions. In the first piece, the Dalai Lama challenges us to set aside national ambitions for happiness and to establish a new approach to global politics by taking responsibility for the happiness of people everywhere. The true test of our moral strength is working for peace, justice and harmony in all that we do. These humanitarian values are universal and must become the center piece of our political actions. Also in this section are essays by Charles Johnson on Buddhist tenets and their relationship to politics; suggestions by bell hooks on dealing with dominator cultures; and Chogyam Trungpa's vision of an enlightened society.
In the Practice section, McLeod has gathered essays on the hard inner work that must be done in tandem with changing the world. Joseph Goldstein presents mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom as three means to peace. Thich Nhat Hanh ponders compassion and understanding as avenues to healing the world. Pema Chodron celebrates patience as an antidote to escalation. Ken Jones looks at ways to dissolve enmity. Ezra Bayda surveys the path to forgiveness. Margaret Wheatley writes about not losing heart in a heartless world.
The final section on Action begins with an essay by Stephanie Kaza on environmentalism and ends with one by Kazuaki Tanahashi on Four Commonplace Truths & Ten Breakthrough Laws. In between are pieces by various authors on economics, feminism, conflict, leadership, racism, defense and foreign policy, the global economy, and the politics of religion. Mindful Politics demonstrates that the essentials of Buddhism are critical to bringing about a better world.