A Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society

Author: Sulak Sivaraksa
A Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society, a collection of Sulak Sivaraksa’s articles and lectures prior to and during his exile in North America in 1977-1978, was edited by David W. Chappell.

Sulak Sivarasksa of Bangkok, Thailand (or Siam, as he prefers to call hsi country), is probably that country’s most prominent social critic and activist and a major contemporary exponent of socially engaged Buddhism. Now sixty years old, he has for the last thirty years combined provcative and innovative intellectual work with continual grassroots organizing. He has founded rural development projects as well as many nongovernmental organizations dedicated to exploring alternative models of sustainable, traditionally rooted, and ethically and spiritually based development.

Periodically, Sulak (as he is known to his friends) has been persecuted; mostly dictatorships have ruled Thiland since 1932. in 1976, Sulak was forced into exile for two years. In 1984, he was arrested by goverment for lese-majeste (defamation of the monarchy), but after an interantional campaign on his behalf, he was released. in September 1991, he was again charged with lese-majeste and also with defamation of the army commander and Sulak went immediately into exile. in December 1992, he returned to face trial. In March, 1993, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In June 1993, his trial, slated to last several months, began. Sulak’s main works include Siamese Resurgence (1985), Religion and Development (1986), A Socially Engaged Buddhism (1988), Siam in Crisis (1990), and Seeds of Peace (1992).