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Buddhadharma : Summer 2008
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 20 0 8 70 3-4 year intensive, part-time, hands-on, experiential, psychotherapy skills training program, grounded in the perspectives of western psychology and the spiritual wisdom traditions of East and West. (October - June) Various experiential workshops www.transpersonalcanada.com or 416 481 6777 own. She later vowed to open a hospital for the poor when she became aware of the widespread suffering on the island. Madsen’s critical account of Bud- dha’s Light Mountain and Dharma Drum Mountain, like that of Tzu Chi— detailing their major international affili- ates, temple and monastic compounds, college campuses and communication networks, and most importantly, their evolving beliefs and spiritual practices— is sufficient unto itself. Yet I miss hav- ing any reference in the book to the many Engaged Buddhist movements in neighboring Asian countries, such as the Nichiren-inspired peace and justice movements of Japan—Soka Gakkai, Rissho Koseikai, Nipponzan Myohoji— which share many of the values, admin- istrative talents, and global reach of the Taiwanese groups. There is clearly work to be done in comparing and contrast- ing the widespread Engaged Buddhisms of Asia and the West with the Human- istic Buddhism of Taiwan. The sharp pain we feel in witness- ing the seemingly hopeless struggles of Buddhist monks and laity in Burma (Myanmar) and Tibet, the continuing marginalization of the new Dalit (ex- untouchable) Buddhists in caste-bound India, and the undermining of Sarvodaya Shramadana’s relief and peace work by the worsening civil war in Sri Lanka, to name but a few examples, is quenched for a time by reading of the sincere ide- alism and the strategic successes of the new Buddhists of Taiwan. But Madsen’s work poses new questions for those who would follow the buddhadharma in the West: Where does service to society fig- ure in our spiritual practice? Do Western Buddhists inhibit the dharma by focusing on retreats and meditation, at the expense of public witness and social action? And is our mistrust of wealth, power, and influence at odds with the skillful means of Asian Buddhists—beginning with the Buddha himself—who reach out to mobilize rulers, merchants, and intel- lectuals in support of the sangha and in service to the world? Reviews