The Compassionate Revolution
Buddhism And Radical Politics
David Edwards, Green Books, 1998, £9.95 p/b
It is refreshing, in these consensual times, to read an unapologetic, radical critique of the injustices of the world’s economic and political structures.
Edwards’ polemic owes much to libertarian thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, but his distinctive contribution is to argue that radicals are themselves compromised by their responses to injustice. Radicals’ anger, he suggests, diminishes their ability to construct genuine alternatives; they must learn from the more profound alternative found in the Buddhist ideals of compassion and selflessness.
Edwards’ book will appeal to many seeking political alternatives in keeping with their spiritual ideals. However, his invocation of Buddhism remains largely theoretical. Firstly, his fierce analysis seems largely unaffected by the loving-kindness he advocates. Secondly, the many attempts around the world to effect social change using Buddhist practices are unmentioned and unanalysed. Many have faith that Buddhism can make a real difference. The question is: how?
reviewed by Vishvapani, Dharma Life 10, Winter 1998