Click on the Contributor's name to see the Abstract for his or her article
ISSN#: 1042-2234 LCCN:  89-7389 OCLC:  18973904

Volume 13 FALL/WINTER 2006
Numbers 3/4


The Value of Buddhism for
Contemporary Western Society


About the Contributors


Experiencing the Universe as Yourself:
The Challenge of Collective Greed, Ill Will, and Delusion
                        David R. Loy
                        Besl Professor of Ethics/Religion and Society
                        Xavier University
                        Cincinnati, OH 45207 (USA)

Buddhist Values for Righteous Politics
                        Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa, President
                        Ms. Lapapan Supamanta
                        Executive Secretary of International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB)
                        International Network of Engaged Buddhists
                       Klongsan, Bangkok 1060 (Thailand)

Women in American Buddhism:  Whose Buddhism, Whose America?
                        Sharon A. Suh, Ph.D.
                        Director, Asian Studies Program
                        Assistant Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
                        Seattle University
                        Seattle, WA 98122 (USA)

Four Ennobling Truths of Our Global Society
                        Ruben L.F. Habito
                        Perkins School of Theology
                        Southern Methodist University
                        Dallas, TX 75275-0133 (USA)

Buddhist Ethics:  Engagement without Judgmentalism     
                        Dr. Sallie King
                        Department of Philosophy and Religion
                        James Madison University
                        Harrisonburg, VA 22807 (USA)

The Value of Contemporary Western Society for Buddhism
                        Dr. Franz Aubrey Metcalf
                        Department of History                       
                        California State University, Los Angeles
                        Los Angeles, CA 90032 (USA)

Unalienable Rights, Mahayana Inclusivity, and Right Livelihood
                        Rev. Taigen Dan Leighton, Ph.D.
                        Institute of Buddhist Studies
                        Graduate Theological Union (GTU)
                        Berkeley, CA 94705 (USA)

Buddhism/America:  Two-Way Street
                        Roger S. Gottlieb
                        Professor of Philosophy
                        Department of Humanities and Arts
                        Worcester Polytechnic Institute
                        Worcester, MA 01609 (USA)



Rita Carter, Exploring Consciousness
Ingrid H. Shafer

Rebecca Kneale Gould, At Home in Nature:  Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in America
Angus Crane

Arthur Grenke, God, Greed, and Genocide:  The Holocaust Through the Centuries
Raphael Sassower

Steven Leonard Jacobs, In Search of Yesterday:  The Holocaust and the Quest for Meaning
John T. Pawlikowski

Sara Raup Johnson, Historical Fictions and Hellenistic Jewish Identity:  Third Maccabees in Its Cultural Context
Winter S. Elliott

William Chester Jordan, Unceasing Strife, Unending Fear:  Jacques de Thérines and the Freedom of the Church in the Age of the Last Capetians
Pedro Blas Gonzalez

Sallie B. King, Being Benevolence:  The Social Ethics of Engaged Buddhism
Art Spring and Rosamond Kilmer Spring

Daniel E. Lee, Freedom vs.  Intervention:  Six Tough Cases
Richard Isaacman

Samuel Moyn, A Holocaust Controversy:  The Treblinka Affair in Postwar France
Yoram Lubling

John Courtney Murray, S.J., We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition
Rosamond Kilmer Spring

Eugenie C. Scott, Evolution vs. Creationism:  An Introduction
Richard Isaacman
James J. Walter and Thomas A. Shannon, Contemporary Issues in Bioethics:  A Catholic Perspective
Michael J. Gorman

Robert Wuthnow, Saving America:  Faith-Based Services and the Future of Civil Society
Glenn Lucke



Saïd Bakhtaoui and Mohammad Ballout, writers and directors, Shi’ism:  Waiting for the Hidden Imam
Dovilé Budryté

David Barison and Daniel Ross, writers and directors, The Ister
Julio Varela
Nadja Drost, writer, director, and producer, Between Midnight and the Rooster’s Crow
Daniel Deffenbaugh

Janine Hosking, director, Mademoiselle and the Doctor
Oz Lorentzen

Ben Lewis, director, Blowing Up Paradise
Pedro Blas Gonzalez

Nick London, director and producer; Deborah Davis, writer-reporter, Torture: America’s Brutal Prisons
Peter Amato



Abstracts Of Current Issue


Experiencing the Universe as Yourself: The Challenge of Collective Greed, Ill Will, and Delusion
David R. Loy
Three types of nonduality are discussed:  (1) the nonduality of self and other, (2) the nonduality of self and lack, and (3) the nonduality of self and society.  Since the sense of self is a groundless construct, we are haunted by a sense of lack that motivates us to try to become more real, but the only satisfactory solution is the spiritual realization of our nonduality with the world.  Many social problems can be traced back to a collective sense of self, which is likewise haunted by a collective sense of lack.  In a similar fashion, the three roots of evil—greed, ill will, and delusion—also have collective equivalents:  institutionalized greed (our present economic system), institutionalized ill will (militarism), and institutionalized delusion (advertising and propaganda).  Reflections are offered on what Buddhism can contribute to challenging these social ills.


Women in American Buddhism:  Whose Buddhism, Whose America?

Sharon A. Suh

This essay examines the rise of Buddhism in the United States since the arrival of participants in the 1893 World Parliament of Religions and Asian immigrants.  The notion that a new form of American Buddhism has emerged in the U.S. as the result of predominantly Euro-American convert communities centering on meditation as the primary form of practice is challenged.  The essay further notes that in conceptualizing American Buddhism, we must take into consideration the diversity of races, ethnicities, and practices that comprise the religious tradition.  It focuses particularly on the practices of Asian-American women and argues for a reconceptualization of authentic practice to include devotion and service to the Sangha.


Four Ennobling Truths of Our Global Society

Ruben L.F.  Habito

This essay examines the situation of our contemporary global society, and takes the Buddhist doctrine of the Four Ennobling Truths as a heuristic device for understanding our ailing condition and seeking guidelines toward addressing it toward healing.  This doctrine, said to be patterned on an ancient Indian medicinal tradition, involves a delineation of symptoms of an illness, a diagnosis of the causes behind these symptoms, a prognosis of recovery of health, and prescriptions of concrete steps to be taken toward healing.  Describing some salient features of the dis-eased condition of our global community, the essay suggests a way of tracing its causes taking a framework presented by Buddhist philosopher David Loy that marks out institutionalized manifestations of the three poisons of greed, ill will, and delusion.  It lays out scenarios of a global state of well-being, and considers pathways to this state of well-being, beginning with the cultivation of the first item in the Buddhist eightfold path, that is, Right View.


Buddhist Ethics:  Engagement Without Judgmentalism

Sallie B. King

Buddhist non-judgmentalism is based in the Buddhist philosophical principles of no-self (anatmān), interdependence and causation.  These ideas shape the Buddhist ethical stance such that they are able to maintain the moral standards of the five lay precepts without engaging in negative moral judgments against individuals.  When put into practice, this ethical stance takes the form of radical acceptance of all and non-preferential compassion for all, resulting in non-adversarial advocacy for actions intended to eliminate the suffering of all.  Engaged Buddhists, those Buddhists active in the social, political, and economic issues of their countries, provide many examples of such non-judgmental social engagement in Vietnamese, Tibetan, Sri Lankan, Middle Eastern, and Western cases.


The Value of Contemporary Western Society for Buddhism

Franz Aubrey Metcalf

Reversing the stated theme for this issue of BRIDGES, this essay asks the value of Western society for Buddhism.  In doing so, it attempts to highlight the danger of the cultural narcissism inherent in asking only the value of Buddhism (or any other imported religion) for Western (or any other) society.  Substantively, the paper first proposes that Buddhism, especially in Asia, can benefit from incorporating one quality in American society: freedom of religion, the foundation of the development of eight new forms of Buddhism.  It then describes those eight new forms:  convert Buddhism, lay Buddhism, meditational Buddhism, engaged Buddhism, non-sexist Buddhism, democratic Buddhism, psychological Buddhism, and ecumenical Buddhism.


Ualienable Rights, Mahayana Inclusivity, and Right Livelihood

Taigen Dan Leighton

The democratic ideals of the American founding fathers and the values of the Mahayana bodhisattva precepts and practices are highly compatible and mutually supportive.  This essay identifies fundamental American principles such as the “unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” from the Declaration of Independence, and shows how they are supportive of the construction of a modern bodhisattva social ethic.  In turn, bodhisattva precepts and practices such as patience, meditative stability, non-harming, and concern for all beings can inform American civil decision-making and policy.  This exchange is parallel to the modern Buddhist-Christian dialogue.  The article focuses on Right Livelihood, part of the Buddhist eightfold path, which is fourth of the four noble truths, and shows how it can set a standard for a modern societal as well as personal ethic.  The article ends by considering the current situation in which American ideals are severely threatened.

Buddhism and America:  Two-Way Street

Roger S. Gottlieb

This essay examines Buddhism’s contributions to Western culture by reference to Zen, Vipassana and other forms of meditation, engaged Buddhism, and Buddhist environmentalism.  I will also explore the effect of Western, specifically American, culture on Buddhism by discussing issues of Buddhism’s patriarchal nature and consumerist Buddhist chic.  I will end with some reflections on the seemingly unique status of Buddhism’s transfer to America.

Throughout, my focus will not be on Buddhism that has arrived here in the family and community structures of immigrants from Buddhist countries, but on the ways in which adolescent and adult Westerners have studied—at home or abroad—with Buddhist teachers; and have used that study as the basis on which to form a specifically American manifestation of Buddhism.



The cover design for the FALL/WINTER 2006 issue of BRIDGES was created by Mr. Ty Bachus.


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