The Prophet and the Bodhisattva: Daniel Berrigan, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Ethics of Peace and Justice

The Prophet and the Bodhisattva: Daniel Berrigan, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Ethics of Peace and Justice

by Charles R. Strain


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Can religious individuals and communities learn from each other in ways that will lead them to collaborate in addressing the great ethical challenges of our time, including climate change and endless warfare? This is the central question underlying The Prophet and the Bodhisattva. It juxtaposes two figures emblematic of an ideal moral life: the prophet as it evolved in ancient Israel and the bodhisattva as it flowered in Mahayana Buddhism.

In particular, The Prophet and the Bodhisattva focuses on Daniel Berrigan and Thich Nhat Hanh, who in their lives embody and in their writings reflect upon their respective moral type. Berrigan, a Jesuit priest, pacifist, and poet, is best known for burning draft files in 1968 and for hammering and pouring blood on a nuclear warhead in 1980. His extensive writings on the Hebrew prophets reflect his life of nonviolent activism. Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, Vietnamese exile, and poet struggled to end the conflict during the Vietnam War. Since then he has led the global movement that he named Engaged Buddhism and has written many commentaries on Mahayana scriptures. For fifty years both have been teaching us how to pursue peace and justice, a legacy we can draw upon to build a social ethics for our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620328415
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 02/19/2014
Pages: 290
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 1 - 17 Years

About the Author

Charles R. Strain is Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University. He is the coauthor of Polity and Praxis: A Program for an American Practical Theology and the editor of Prophetic Visions and Economic Realities. He has written extensively comparing Catholic social teachings and liberation theology with Socially Engaged Buddhism, as well as writing on the role of universities in promoting social justice.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Blessing of Elders 1

Part I The Prophet and the Bodhisattva

1 The Prophet: God's Agony Made Flesh and Word 17

2 The Bodhisattva: Called by Many True Names 42

Part II The Social Ethics of the Prophet and the Bodhisattva: Three Approaches

3 Vision and Virtue in the Ethics of the Prophet and the Bodhisattva 75

4 Social Location and Social Ethics: The Prophet and the Bodhisattva as Nonviolent Agents 102

5 Compassion and Justice: Social Ethics and Capability Theory 133

Part III Applying the Social Ethics of the Prophet and the Bodhisattva

6 Dismantling the Empire: American Militarism and Just Peacemaking 169

7 A Planet on Fire: Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and Ecological Ethics 207

Conclusion: Crossing Boundaries and Living on the Edge 245

Bibliography 253

Permissions 267

Index 269

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