The Buddha and the Terrorist

( 2 )

Overview


Every once in a while a profound and beautiful book comes along that speaks for all time and also to our specific time. The Buddha and the Terrorist is such a book.

"There is a virus buried deep in all violence that is contagious, that inspires an equally brutal and mindless response. You can choose not to be part of the destructive cycle, and that choice not to participate is the first step toward peace. We can begin to cultivate small acts of compassion right now."
—from the ...

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The Buddha and the Terrorist

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Overview


Every once in a while a profound and beautiful book comes along that speaks for all time and also to our specific time. The Buddha and the Terrorist is such a book.

"There is a virus buried deep in all violence that is contagious, that inspires an equally brutal and mindless response. You can choose not to be part of the destructive cycle, and that choice not to participate is the first step toward peace. We can begin to cultivate small acts of compassion right now."
—from the foreword by Thomas Moore

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
"This kind of parable has a calming effect on the mind. The change in outlook from anger to compassion is also contagious, also powerful."

—The Los Angeles Times Book Review

From the Publisher

"This kind of parable has a calming effect on the mind. The change in outlook from anger to compassion is also contagious, also powerful."
The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A challenging story, beautifully written, most pertinent and relevant to our time.” —Deepak Chopra
 
"A profound message of hope in the midst of seemingly hopeless terrors." —Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Columbia University
Publishers Weekly
Kumar (You Are, Therefore I Am) neatly reworks an ancient allegory of Buddha's conversion of a bloodthirsty killer. In the northern Indian city of Savatthi, a renegade Untouchable called Angulimala murders people indiscriminately and cuts off their fingers (his name means "Wearer of a Finger Necklace"). Apprised of the danger, Buddha insists that he must also console "those who are possessed with anger and ignorance" and seeks him out. With Buddha's gentle instruction in the forest, Angulimala recognizes the futility of violence in dealing with his profound sense of abandonment and separation from loved ones. He takes the name Ahimsaka ("Nonviolent One"), becomes a monk and lives by the Four Noble Truths. The king and relatives of Angulimala's victims nevertheless cry out for vengeance. Skillfully, Kumar demonstrates the transformation necessary in the consciousness of a society bent on punishment rather than persuasion, or as the king says: "What one person, the Buddha, has achieved, my entire army could not." In a foreword, Thomas Moore draws parallels between this parable and the Gospels, the Tao De Ching and the Sufi "way of love." More a pamphlet than a novella, this short piece hits its mark with studied grace. (Sept. 1) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565125209
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 979,399
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author


Thomas Moore is the author of Care of the Soul.

Satish Kumar was born in India. He was a monk for nine years and then founded the London School for Nonviolence. He is the editor of the international magazine Resurgence and the director of programs at Schumacher College, and he has written two previous books, No Destination and You Are, Therefore I Am.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    Buddha and the Terrorist is a unique story about the Buddha beca

    Buddha and the Terrorist is a unique story about the Buddha because it was a time in the Buddha’s life were he wanted to help someone who felt pain all his life. Usually we don’t hear stories of Buddha and his relations with other people because a lot o stories about the Buddha are about himself. The story has some deep meaningful questions that Buddha asked that I could relate to my own life. When Buddha finally meets Angulimala, the terrorist, Buddha confronts him with questions that forced Angulimala too look back on his life. For me the book has a lot psychologically relaxing moments that Buddha and Angulimala share. I also noticed that the book has good ways to deal with stress and anger that I especially enjoyed.

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  • Posted June 3, 2012

    This novel is a retelling of the parable of Angulimala which was

    This novel is a retelling of the parable of Angulimala which was written in the Theragatha. In the books introduction Thomas Moore gushes about how great the story is and compares it to the Gospel of Jesus as well as other religious texts. We move on to meet the murderer named Angulimala who has been killing people in Indian villages and cutting off their fingers to create a necklace. The only thing that he needs to change his evil ways is a visit from Buddha who teaches him to deal with his anger and despair a different way from violence. Angulimala is taken aback at how easily the Buddha has forgiven him and becomes a monk named Ahimsaka which means “The Violent One.” The story deals with the Buddha now convincing the villagers and families of the murdered ones that Ahimsaka doesn’t deserve to die despite his past crimes.
    Obviously this story has significance today with the war on terror raging on abroad. Although we have moved forward with our political and criminal system from what they were in the past, the idea of “an eye for an eye,” is still practiced and capital punishment is still present in many countries. Therefore Kumar is taking a strong stance on this whole idea that two wrongs make a write by stating that Ahimsak deserves to live due to his change of heart. The idea behind this is “violence begets violence,” and that killing him won’t bring back the children and loved ones of the families so there is nothing to be gained from his death.
    Despite this being a parable there are a lot of lessons to be gleaned here such as; punishment doesn’t have to be absolute, we need to understand terrorism to stop it, forgiveness is wonderful and should be more than just saying “I forgive you.” I think what the Buddha is saying here and what Kumar is saying by extension is that in order to stop Angulimala he must be understood and helped with his personal demons. Once these demons were exorcised he was free to live his life without lashing out in violence, since he had dealt with these demons and had been healed capital punishment was no longer a fair response since he genuinely repented. It’s stories like these that are written thousands of years ago, yet still remain relevant in this day and age.

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