Synopses & Reviews
"I've studied politics my entire life. It's been because of my time working on this book that I've finally learned what's really important in politics." So says Melvin McLeod, editor of Mindful Politics
, a book that transcends Right and Left, progressive and conservative, to get to the heart of what matters: how we can all make a positive difference in our complex political world.
This is not your typical political book. It's not written at a fever pitch, it doesn't use a good/bad binary, and it doesn't tout partisan policies. Instead, this timely collection addresses the less-discussed but more important questions about politics: What insight does religion have to offer politics? How can we as concerned citizens move beyond the particulars of legislation and party affiliation, and take direct action? How, amid divisive and challenging times, can personal growth and effective advocacy take place together?
In short, Mindful Politics offers the perspectives of 34 important authors and thinkers on how each of us, right now, can make the world a better place.
McLeod includes essays and insights from some of the brightest, and most controversial, lights of Buddhism - and beyond.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Sam Harris (author of The End of Faith)
- The Dalai Lama
- Jerry Brown
- Pema Chodron
- Trungpa Rinpoche
- bell hooks
- Ezra Bayda
- Meg Wheatley
- ...and many more
"This collection of essays on a Buddhist approach to politics is far-ranging. We see contributions from Buddhists engaged in politics, whether religious figures like the Dalai Lama and Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh or Zen student and political leader Jerry Brown, as well as a wide variety of Buddhist teachers and practitioners. McLeod, who edits two Buddhist periodicals and an annual anthology of Buddhist writing, skillfully organizes the diverse writings by using the categories that describe Buddhism's noble eightfold path. Contributions vary in quality. Nhat Hanh is clear as a Zen sitting-room bell; the precepts of his Order of Interbeing community are specific, and he can draw on decades of peace work to illustrate that what he says is not merely possible but has already been done. Scholar Rita Gross offers fresh insight about the anger of righteousness that often motivates political involvement. Other contributions are woolly or left over from the 1960s; bell hooks's use of leftisms ('imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy') draws on stale ideology. Margaret Wheatley does important work in community and leadership development, but should avoid writing bad poetry to express her views. Despite unevenness, this anthology usefully disputes Buddhism's reputation as apolitical. Buddhism is quiet but not quietistic. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An anthology like this should have been published decades ago. We all know, politics sucks. It is largely a playground for (individual and national) egos 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. [ . . . ] 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, 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."
"Shambhala Sun editor Melvin McLeod compiled a essays, interviews, discussions, and other pieces by prominent Buddhist teachers, writers, activists, and politicians. Thich Nhat Hanh, Chogyam Trungpa, Joseph Goldstein, bell hooks, and Sulak Sivaraksa are a few of the writers represented. These selections explore an aware, engaged, and mindful approach to politics. A source of inspiration, they provide a means by which we can understand conscious political action."
"The obvious failure of ordinary political thinking to create a world of peace and justice should suggest to us that we look further, deeper, for guides to action .The essays in Mindful Politics do just that, gently pushing us to think beyond orthodox solutions, drawing upon ancient wisdom to cope with the violence and insecurity of our time, giving us inspiration and hope."
"Mindful Politics lifts the political discussion out of the muck of fundamentalism and turf protection. This book is uplifting, practical, and gives hope where I thought there may no longer be any. Now if only we could sneak copies into the Oval Office."
"Mindful Politics: A Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place has instantly become one of my favorite books. It is an amazing collection of thoughtful and helpful reflections. For the sake of our planet, I can I only hope it will become a bestseller."
"Dharma and Politics. It's a marriage made in America, that great, rich melting pot of contradictions. Mindful Politics has gathered the big names--former California guv'ner Jerry Brown, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, even the Dalai Lama himself--around an ancient idea whose time is more relevant than ever: that the enlightened governance of a society transcends issues of gender, class, race--even partisanship. Melvin McLeod's Mindful Politics offers us a first hint of what the consummation between Buddhadharma and American politics might look like--and how to get there."
"Imagine a mindful politics! That is exactly what these thinkers, activists, and teachers are doing in this marvelous collection of essays. May these perspectives and practices inspire, inform and nurture the next generation of political leaders as well as all of us--since we are all vital living 'cells' in the body of this one world--as we ponder and hopefully contribute in ways little and big to the health of the body-politic, which is nothing less now than the health of not just the nation but the whole world."
Just in time for the crucial 2006 Congressional elections, Mindful Politics goes beyond right and left to get to the heart of what matters, and how everyone can participate in real political change. Mindful Politics is not a typical political book. It's not written at fever pitch, it doesnt employ the usual good vs. bad binary, it doesn't get hung up on specific issues or policies, and it's not even specifically "American." Instead, this timely book addresses the less-discussed but more important aspects of politics, such as whether religion any religion, including Buddhism has something to offer politics. It also discusses how dealing with emotional issues can help the activist move beyond the particulars of legislation and policy, so that personal growth and effective advocacy can occur together. Noted editor Melvin McLeod offers a brief, contextualizing introduction for each of these essays.
Just in time for the crucial 2006 Congressional elections, "Mindful Politics" goes beyond right and left to get to the heart of what matters, and how everyone can participate in real political change.
About the Author
Melvin McLeod attended the National Defence College of Canada, the country's highest institution for the study of domestic and international affairs. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Shambhala Sun magazine and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Journal. He is also the editor of the Best Buddhist Writing collections. He has spent his life studying politics; he took a degree in political science, including a period of study in Washington, and has covered political stories in his capacity as a journalist. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.