Although material advances have contributed enormously to human welfare, they cannot create lasting happiness by themselves. I believe [Sulak]and I share a conviction that if we are to solve human problems, economic and technological development must be accompanied by an inner spiritual growth. And if we succeed in fulfilling both these goals, we will surely create a happier and more peaceful world.”
—His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
“[Sulak]offers a clear picture of what is going on, and he does so as a participant, not just as an observer. He is a teacher and an organizer, a bodhisattva who devotes all his energies to helping others.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh, author of Living Buddha, Living Christ
"Consistently engaging, Pistono’s book provides a template for Buddhist activism at a time when bold voices like Sulak’s are so desperately needed."
"This rare and powerful book conveys the powerful spirit of a true humanitarian and courageous human being, Sulak Sivaraksa. Roar is the roar of a lion of a man, whose vision of human liberation is an example for us all. Written with rugged honesty and utter clarity, this book is a great treasure that teaches us all that compassion in action is the very heart of ethics. Bravo! All who know [Sulak]have been waiting for the full story of his life and work.”
—Roshi Joan Halifax, Upaya Zen Center, author of Standing at the Edge
“By the pivotal nature of his work, which bridges the artificial divides of North and South, Buddhist and non-Buddhist, self and other, bringing a healthy mix of universalism and concern for local culture, and by the exemplary courage he has manifested in ‘speaking truth to power,’ Sulak Sivaraksa has made, and continues to make, a major contribution to peace and justice in his native Thailand, as well as in the world as a whole.”
—Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from Northern Ireland
“[Sulak] is an old friend and an inspiring, amazing figure in world Buddhism. Roaroffers a marvelous and compelling story of his courage and audacity, of [Sulak’s] extraordinary place in the modern history of Thailand, and his creative, feisty, unstoppable force of compassion and wisdom.”
—Jack Kornfield, author of No Time Like the Present
“[Sulak] is one of the heroes of our time, offering us deep wisdom and refreshingly sane alternatives to the earth-destroying religions of consumerism, greed, and exploitation.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self
“An irrepressible campaigner for a sane and just society, [Sulak] unites the strengths of a traditional Dharmic sensibility with the critical rigor of a Western-educated intellectual. His life offers a heroic example of engaged Buddhism in practice.”
—Stephen Batchelor, author of Secular Buddhism
“In the entire world I know of no one who understands the situation more clearly and acts more effectively and consistently to bring the resources of a great religious tradition to bear on the critical issues of our time than Sulak Sivaraksa. I wish I could point to equally effective Christian leaders. I cannot. But perhaps we Christians can be inspired by him and learn from him and can find the strength to act creatively.”
—John B. Cobb, Jr., author of A Christian Natural Theology
“The question of alternatives to the current economic model has become extremely urgent…. Sulak Sivaraksa has been in the forefront of developing a thoroughgoing critique of consumerism.”
—Walden Bello, author of Capitalism’s Last Stand?
“Whenever I ask myself a basic question of public ethics and public action, I end up wondering what [Sulak] would think. He has that great virtue of being true to himself and to the standards which somehow link all great moral philosophies…. [Sulak] is an unstoppable force working on justice from a Buddhist point of view.”
—John Ralston Saul, author of The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World
With this latest work, Pistono (In the Shadow of the Buddha) alludes to passages from two important Buddhist scriptures in the Pali cannon to frame the life and work of Thai intellectual and activist Sulak Sivaraska (b. 1933). Sulak critiqued both the Thai monarchy and the sangha, which served as a call to action for socially engaged Buddhists and activists in Thailand but was perceived as a threat to the monarchy. However, Sulak's criticism was rooted in a deep-seated loyalty to both institutions and the desire to preserve Siamese culture and identity. Pistono weaves Sulak's biography with Thai political history to illuminate Sulak's journey to becoming a high-profile intellectual and provocative leader of Buddhist activism in Thailand. In addition, Pistono highlights the role that Sulak's exposure to Western culture and religion, particularly the Quakers, played in developing an ecumenical version of the religion that he believed would lead to both social and spiritual transformation. VERDICT Readers interested in the intersections of social justice and religion will likely enjoy a non-Western perspective of a provocative and controversial figure. Also suitable for readers seeking a basic introduction to modern Thai political history.—Amanda Folk, Ohio State Univ. Libs.