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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Thomas Moore's new foreword is about terror

In The Buddha and the Terrorist, Satish Kumar tells the tale of Angulimala (Wearer of a Finger Necklace) and his encounter with the Buddha.
"International terrorism may have become the central specter of our time, but the threat of violence is as old as history. Among all the experiences of the Buddha, perhaps this story of his eye-to-eye encounter with a fearsome terrorist is the one most relevant and vital for us today. What happens when a man committed to violence is confronted by a man committed to nonviolence? Who is more powerful? Who can influence whom? The Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama, have all sought to inspire us. Satish Kumar’s retelling of the ancient Buddhist tale of transformation speaks to the possibility of changing the world."
A new edition of the tale will be available September 1, 2006, with a foreword by Thomas Moore. Moore writes,
"The Lord, the source of life, truly inspires terror because life is so mysterious and overwhelming and because it offers so much vitality and so much death. According to a classic definition, the holy is mysterium tremendum et fascinans, that is, a mystery that makes you tremble and fascinates you. The ultimate terror is a stark realization of the holiness and awesomeness of life.

But everything is subject to human neurosis and psychosis. It's quite proper to tremble at the sight and feel of nature's beauty and power, but it's a travesty for anyone to force another to tremble at the sight of weapons and savagery. The most beneficial of things can be twisted into something dangerous and ugly. When that happens, we usually add an "ism" to the word. Community becomes communism, nationality becomes nationalism, and terror becomes terrorism. Terrorism is a sacrilege, and our task is to respond by restoring the holiness of life's power."
The Buddha and the Terrorist
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books (September 1, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 1565125207

Satish Kumar and Thomas Moore are speaking together this month in Plymouth, England.

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