Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory
David R. Loy
The most essential insight that Buddhism
offers is that all our individual suffering arises from three and only three sources:
greed, ill-will, and delusion. In The Great Awakening, scholar and Zen teacher
David Loy examines how these three qualities, embodied in societys institutions,
lie at the root of all social maladies as well. The teachings of Buddhism present
a way that the individual can counteract these destructive influences to alleviate
personal sufffering, and in the The Great Awakening Loy boldly examines how these
teachings can be applied to institutions and even whole cultures for the alleviation
of suffering on a collective level.
This book will help both Buddhists
and non-Buddhists to realize the social importance of Buddhist teachings, while
providing a theoretical framework for socially engaged members of society to apply
their spiritual principles to collective social issues. The Great Awakening shows
how Buddhism can help our postmodern world develop liberative possibilities otherwise
obscured by the anti-religious bias of so much contemporary social theory.
Professor Christopher S. Queen, Harvard University, editor
of Engaged Buddhism in the West:
"In this daring work, Loy exemplifies
the rise of socially engaged Buddhism and this new vehicle of spiritual practice."
"David Loy in this magnificent
text opens up to us by facing three crucial issues facing us in our modern times,
the three poisons the Buddha called hindrances to practice. Ignorance, anger,
and greed. These are the source of all suffering not just for individuals, but
entire societies and even companies. This book addresses such issues with Loy's
brilliant social theory on Buddhism.
Loy takes aim at big business in this
work, showing his skepticism in saying that corporations and the globalization
of world trade are certainly not realities which seem to be motivated by love
and compassion (as politicians will have us believe); rather, they are motivated
by greed. And it's a regrettable truth, that companies are out for two things:
more profit, and more power. Of course, these companies are not the only problem.
Because where you have a profiteering business, you find consumers. These consumers,
especially those in Western culture, are in many ways like the hungry ghosts of
Buddhism. Buddhism, as do most religious traditions, faces the reality of greed
head on. It emphasizes the need to control it.
Who's accountable for this
pressure on growth? Consumerism has taken over with a life completely of it's
own. Many people are probably either oblivious to it or don't really want to face
this subtle but all too apparent truth. Everyone is to blame, and therefore it
must be tackled individually. The only way this can be accomplished is by eradicating
our own innate tendency to support it all. The lack of responsibility, in short,
embodies what is both happening today and why things are not changing. There are
not many individuals standing up to take action. The world is basically in the
hands of, in the current era, big business. This is scarecly a new insight for
you and me. But the point of all of this, Loy stresses, is that somewhere for
a breaking away of such practices to occur, we must have individuals willing to
make sacrifices in order to accomplish such a task. That calling is for you and
Steven A. Smith
This book is not just for Buddhists.
Anyone who wishes to see clearly the moral hole we have dug for ourselves here
in the West, especially economically and politically, will profit from reading
this important book. Gets to the root of the corruption plaguing our global system.
David Loy is a Participating Scholar of The Religious Consultation
on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics.
Other articles by David Loy
on this website:
Buddhism and the Market
Buddhist Perspective on New Holy War Against Evil
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