Dhamma for Social Renewal: A Collection of Talks by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

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Don Swearer was never ordained at Suan Mokkh, but he is a brilliant scholar
of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s life and works. He had even recommended the
revered monk to divide his sermons into series, keep an audio recording of
each and every one of them, and compile and transform them into book form
later. Since Buddhadasa took up Ajarn Don’s suggestion, we now have a
sizeable collection of his works—a real treasure.

A young American who took the ordained name Santikaro then
often served as Buddhadasa’s interpreter. After leaving the monkhood,
Santikaro has become the leading translator of Buddhadasa’s works, especially
for readers in the United States. By comparison, some Western scholars who
claim to be Buddhadasa experts possess only superficial understanding of
him.
Buddhadasa’s works have been translated into many different
languages, including Chinese and Japanese. He is also the subject of numerous
books. To my knowledge, Louis Gabaude of the Ecole française d’Extrême-
Orient has compiled the most complete bibliography of works on or citing
Buddhadasa in various languages.

 

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Don Swearer was never ordained at Suan Mokkh, but he is a brilliant scholar
of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s life and works. He had even recommended the
revered monk to divide his sermons into series, keep an audio recording of
each and every one of them, and compile and transform them into book form
later. Since Buddhadasa took up Ajarn Don’s suggestion, we now have a
sizeable collection of his works—a real treasure.
A young American who took the ordained name Santikaro then
often served as Buddhadasa’s interpreter. After leaving the monkhood,
Santikaro has become the leading translator of Buddhadasa’s works, especially
for readers in the United States. By comparison, some Western scholars who
claim to be Buddhadasa experts possess only superficial understanding of
him.

Buddhadasa’s works have been translated into many different
languages, including Chinese and Japanese. He is also the subject of numerous
books. To my knowledge, Louis Gabaude of the Ecole française d’Extrême-
Orient has compiled the most complete bibliography of works on or citing
Buddhadasa in various languages.

After retiring from Swarthmore College and the Center for the
Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School, Ajarn Don still regularly
translates and writes on Buddhadasa for the Western audience—an admirable
feat. Some of his pieces can be found in our Seeds of Peace magazine.

In this book, Ajarn Don shows us the links between Buddhadasa’s
and Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings. The latter is a progenitor of socially engaged
Buddhism. In fact, Buddhadasa admired Nhat Hanh’s writings, even insisting
that they are more poetic and eloquent than his own.
When we first established the International Network of Engaged
Buddhadasa Bhikkhu 7 Buddhists (INEB) in 1989, both of these monks agreed to be our patrons; and
so too did His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The publication of this book in Taiwan is made possible by the
goodwill of the local Buddhists. Of course, it will be translated into Chinese,
too. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Ajarn Don Sweater
not only for compiling and translating this book, but also for the years of
friendship and support. I became well-known in the United States primarily
because of his contribution in Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation
Movements in Asia, ed. Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King (State
University of New York Press, 1996). He was also the main reason why I
became Distinguished Visiting Professor for Social Change at Swarthmore
College and Senior Fellow in Residence at the Harvard-Yenching Institute.
In this book, Ajam Don has selected and translated a number of
pieces by Buddhadasa. In the Introduction, he has already provided an
explanation and commentary on them. I have nothing more to add. I would
like to thank him as well as Thai and Taiwanese kalyanamitta for publishing
this book which commemorates Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s birthday on 27 May
2019.

Sulak Sivaraksa

Additional information

Weight 0.4 kg
Dimensions 21 × 14.5 cm
Dhamma for Social Renewal: A Collection of Talks by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Translated from the Thai by Donald K Swearer

Foreword by Sulak Sivaraksa

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