Robert Sachs is a member of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the personal student of His Holiness Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche. In the foreword to this paperback, he quotes from His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:

"Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger and cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free. True peace with ourselves and with the world around us can only be achieved through the development of mental peace."

There are plenty of worthwhile and immensely edifying books on the different elements of Buddhism and the kinds of subjects discussed at weekend dharma classes and meditation retreats. For his interviews with Buddhist masters, Sachs has come up with a set of questions one might hear politicians, pundits, and experts discuss in the media: sickness, poverty, warfare, the rise of fundamentalism, the growing war in the Middle East, global warming, stem cell research, the AIDS epidemic, the world's addiction to oil, nuclear proliferation, and other topics.

Among the Buddhist teachers interviewed are H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, Ven. Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally, Ven. Ajahn Amaro, Roshi Joan Halifax, Ven. Thubten Chodron, Christopher Titmuss, and Tenzin Robert Thurman. Here is a sampler of their comments:

Robert Thurman on War
"People's deep realism is necessary in order to save everybody, because the reality is that the war thing is self-destructive. Nobody wins it. People did once fight wars to win them. But, nobody is going to win any more and nobody is winning any of them, and that will continue to be the case."

Thubten Chodron on Oil
"The American public is attached to its comfortable lifestyle that depends on oil. We are unwilling to cut back on our oil use and consumer goods — in short, on our disproportionate consumption of the world's resources — in order to share with other people in the world."

Joan Halifax on Sustainability
"I am here with my good friend, Brother David Steindl-Rast, who carries, in his pocket, napkins filled with leftover food that he could not eat at lunch, but he will consume as a snack later on. He is not just going to throw it away. This is a small example of sustainability."

Michael Roach on Coping in Hard Times
"When you are afraid, or think of danger for you, stop thinking about yourself and worry about the other people around you. Suddenly, the danger will pass."