The Buddha and the Terrorist

The Buddha and the Terrorist

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Satish Kumar
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A Buddhist parable on confronting violence offers “a profound message about hope in the midst of seemingly hopeless terrors” (Robert Thurman, author of Man of Peace). In this timely retelling of an ancient Buddhist parable, peace activist Satish Kumar has created a small book with a powerful spiritual message about ending violence. It is a tale of a fearsome outcast named Angulimala (“Necklace of Fingers”), who is terrorizing towns and villages in order to gain control of the state, and murdering people and adding their fingers to his gruesome necklace. One day he comes face to face with the Buddha and is persuaded, through a series of compelling conversations, to renounce violence and take responsibility for his actions. The Buddha and the Terrorist addresses the urgent questions we face today: Should we talk to terrorists? Can we reason with religious fundamentalists? Is nonviolence practical? The story ends with a dramatic trial that speaks to the victims of terrorism—the families whose mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters Angulimala has murdered. It asks whether it is possible for them to forgive. Or whether it is even desirable. No one can read The Buddha and the Terrorist without thinking about the root causes of terrorism, about good and evil, about justice and forgiveness, about the kind of place we want the world to be, and, most importantly, about the most productive and practical way to get there. The wisdom within this book provides “a crucial alternative to the unending cycle of bloodshed and retaliation” (Booklist). “This kind of parable has a calming effect on the mind. The change in outlook from anger to compassion is also contagious, also powerful.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review “A challenging story, beautifully written, most pertinent and relevant to our time.” —Deepak Chopra