This book definitely provides A LOT of information about wonderful people, projects and ideas curently going on in engaged bouddhist movement. It helped me to fill part of a promising worldwide movement, exciting in many ways : this is one of the active scene of the transformative assimilation of the East by the West. Many references to other books allow to deepen the prefered subjects. This book will detroy the widespread idea that bouddhists spend there time looking at their belly button looking for some unhealthy nothingness. And also if you are buddhist, it really make you think your relationship to the world by facing the good questions : does buddhist engagement mean something ? is engagement in itself a practice or even a yana ? This book really reveals that through its very new contact with the west, buddhism is today already living a transformation, that will perheaps be as deep as the hynayana/mayana transition.
This book is a follow up to Queen's 1996 "Engaged Buddhism," which I have not read. His new book is an inspiring, 544-page collection of nineteen essays (20 if you count his introduction), followed by a resourceful, 10-page bibliography. Each essay defines socially-engaged Buddhism by example, introducing us to Thich Nhat Hanh (who tells us all Buddhism is engaged), Bernie Glassman, Joanna Macy, and the 22-year-old Buddhist Peace Fellowship, among others. Their stories not only show that it is possible to engage oneself with social issues such as violence, race, gender, homelessness, and the environment on a meaningfull, daily basis, but that it is also possible through spiritual commitment to make a difference in our "high pressure, political world" (p. 174). It is reassuring, for instance, to find in these pages socially-engaged Buddhists quietly practicing in hospices, prisons, at nuclear test sites, and in old-growth redwood forests with positive results. Every moment in life presents an opportunity for engagement. The subject matter of this book deserves my 5-star rating. However, much of the writing here tends to be highly researched, footnoted, and tightly organized to the point that it might put many readers off. At times, this book reads more like a PhD dissertation than the handbook for social engagement it could be. But read it anyway!