Mr. Kotler's lucid analysis of Buddhism is superb reading for the West. Noticeably absent in recent years from Thich Nhat Hanh's books (and his books show it), Kotler will hopefully share more material on his own that better communicate the "meat of Buddhism" for modern Westerners.
In this excellent, 1996 compilation of 42 essays and poems, one contributor writes: "Anyone who looks at this world and society and sees its tremendous suffering, injustice, and danger will agree on the necessity to do something, to act in order to change, in order to liberate people" (p. 77). This sense of responsibility is the "touchstone" (p. 66) of Buddhist engagement. "Everything is interdependent and mutually conditioning," Joanna Macy observes, "each thought, word, and act, and all beings, too, in the web of life."
Although not a criticism of this book, I have read many of these selections before. Still, they are worth reading again. And again. Kotler's collection is organized into six parts, "Being Peace," "Touching Peace," "Compassion in Action," "The Greening of the Self," "Community," and "For a Future to be Possible," and includes the writings of H. H. the Dalai Lama ("Compassion, love, and forgiveness, however, are not luxuries. They are fundamental for our survival," p. 4), Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Robert Aitken, Shunryu Suzuki, Gary Snyder, Peter Matthiesson and Stephen Batchelor, among others. Although all of the contributions here are memorable, I connected with Kenneth Kraft's "Engaged Buddhism" (pp. 64-69) and Robert Thurman's "Nagarjuna's Guidelines for Buddhist Social Action" (pp. 79-90) in particular. Joanna Macy's selections included here are so revelatory, I now want to read all of her books.
I encourage others to experience the collected insights found in this accessible book. Although it is written from a Buddhist perspective, it is not necessary to be Buddhist to appreciate the book's message: We can only save ourselves when all humanity recognizes that every problem on earth is our own personal responsibility" (p. 77). Highly recommended!