1st Edition

Buddhist Visions of the Good Life for All

Edited By Sallie B. King Copyright 2021
    272 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book highlights what Buddhism has to offer for "living well" here and now—for individuals, society as a whole, all sentient beings and the planet itself.

    From the perspectives of a variety of Buddhist thinkers, the book evaluates what a good life is like, what is desirable for human society, and ways in which we should live in and with the natural world. By examining this-worldly Buddhist philosophy and movements in India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Tibetan diaspora, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and the United States, the book assesses what Buddhists offer for the building of a good society. It explores the proposals and programs made by progressive and widely influential lay and monastic thinkers and activists, as well as the works of movement leaders such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, for the social, economic, political and environmental systems in their various countries.

    Demonstrating that Buddhism is not solely a path for the realization of nirvana but also a way of living well here and now, this book will be of interest to researchers working on contemporary and modern Buddhism, Buddhism and society, Asian religion and Engaged Buddhism.


    Sallie B. King

    Part I The Ancient Buddhist World

    1. A Map of the Good Life: The Thirty-Eight Blessings of the Maṅgala Sutta

    Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

    2. Compassion Blesses the Compassionate: The Basis of Human Flourishing in Buddhist Thought and Practice

    Stephen Jenkins

    Part II The Contemporary Buddhist World

    3. Ambedkar’s Buddhist Vision: A Social Democratic Republic

    Christopher Queen

    4. The Good Life as Envisioned by A.T. Ariyaratne and the Sarvodaya Movement

    George D. Bond

    5. The Development of Wellbeing: Gross National Happiness and Bhutan’s Vision for the Ideal Society

    Barbra Clayton

    6. The Good Life: A Tibetan Understanding

    Jay L. Garfield

    7. Venerable Pomnyun’s Jungto Society: A Buddhist Activist Movement in South Korea

    Sujung Kim

    8. Thich Nhat Hanh and the Nonviolent Society

    Sallie B. King

    9. Tzu Chi: Buddhist Compassion Relief and the Bodhisattva Path to a Good Society

    Richard Madsen

    10. Japan’s Soka Gakkai: Transforming the Human Spirit to Save Humanity from Itself

    Daniel A. Métraux

    11. Gary Snyder’s Vision

    Christopher Ives

    12. Mutual Morality: Joanna Macy’s Vision of the Great Turning

    Stephanie Kaza


    Sallie B. King is Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Religion at James Madison University, USA and Affiliated Faculty at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgetown University, USA.

    "This volume is a timely addition to the growing literature on Buddhist ethics, Buddhist modernism, and contemporary Buddhist social movements. Jenkins’s lived-religion approach, and his theoretical push to think critically about the privileging of texts in Buddhist moral thought in particular, offer a new frame for thinking about questions of the Buddhist good life and Buddhist engagement as presented in part two of the volume. This volume will be of interest to scholars working in the field of contemporary Buddhist studies and is appropriate for assignment in graduate courses and upper-level undergraduate seminars." - Timothy Loftus, Journal of Buddhist Ethics