Cover image for Not turning away : the practice of engaged Buddhism
Not turning away : the practice of engaged Buddhism
Moon, Susan, 1942-
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Shambhala, [2004]

Physical Description:
xviii, 238 pages ; 23 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BQ4570.S6 N6 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The term "engaged Buddhism" was coined by the Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh as a way of asserting that Buddhism should not be passive or otherworldly, but on the contrary, that Buddhists should be deeply, compassionately involved in every aspect of society where suffering arises. Not Turning Away is a treasury of writings on the philosophy and practice of engaged Buddhism by some of the most well-known and respected figures in the movement, gleaned from the pages of the magazine that is the primary forum for engaged Buddhism in America and elsewhere: Turning Wheel: The Journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Not Turning Away provides a history of the engaged Buddhism movement, an analysis of its underlying principles, and inspiring practical examples of real people's experiences in putting spiritual practice to the test on the personal, national, and global levels. The range of topics--from political oppression to prison work, disability, racism, poverty, nonviolence, forgiveness, the student-teacher relationship, and homelessness--demonstrates the applicability of Buddhist teaching to every concern of modern life.

Contributors include:

Robert Aitken
Jan Chozen Bays
Melody Ermachild Chavis
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Thich Nhat Hanh
Jack Kornfield
Kenneth Kraft
Joanna Macy
Jarvis Jay Masters
Fleet Maull
Susan Moon
Wendy Egyoku Nakao
Maylie Scott
Gary Snyder
Robert Thurman
Joan Tollifson
Diana Winston

Author Notes

Susan Moon is a writer and longtime Zen Buddhist who teaches popular writing workshops, mostly in California. She is the former editor of  Turning Wheel: The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism . She lives in Berkeley, California.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1978, "a kind of international Buddhist ecumenism" coalesced into the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, a network of Buddhist practitioners advocating nonviolent, spiritually based activism in the "social, political and economic affairs" of our day. In time, the movement became known as engaged Buddhism. Moon, longtime editor of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship's journal Turning Wheel, has anthologized some of the journal's best articles into the current book, which she divides into three sections. The first focuses on how engaged Buddhism helps each author deal with his or her own personal suffering, such as surviving inside a federal prison or recovering from a childhood defined by violence and shame. The second section features essays that describe the experience of taking engaged Buddhism "into the world," such as a wry account of being arrested for protesting the arrival of a "weapons train" at a naval base. The third section shifts away from the anecdotal toward the analytical, including pieces on the roots of engaged Buddhism and suggestions for teaching its principles to one's children. Moon includes contributions from well-known Buddhist figures such as Thich Nhat Hanh, but the bulk of the essays are from "ordinary people," including a death row inmate and a corporate attorney. But Moon's real brilliance is insisting on essays that eschew the hypothetical. Instead, they describe frankly the intimate joys, humor, failures, even despair, of practicing engaged Buddhism. These are compelling, often captivating accounts of individuals collectively trying to affect the world. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

For more than 20 years, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship's journal, The Turning Wheel, has been part of the broader effort to inspire Buddhists to become engaged in social change and address suffering at the societal level. Moon, the journal's editor, has gathered some of the journal's best writing, which addresses subjects as diverse as racism, sexual abuse, poverty, and animal rights. Bringing together pieces by such writers as Robert Aitken, Joanna Macy, and Gary Snyder, the collection certainly testifies to the power of Buddhist engagement in the world. For most collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.