I came to Buddhism with the help of the Peace Corps. Not coincidentally, I’ve long been convinced that spirituality in general and Buddhism in particular must respond to the suffering and injustice in our world. How can we sit by while ecosystems are ravaged, children abused and the less powerful exploited, especially when we are economically privileged and protected by the world’s most destructive military? How can we solve the suffering of our own busy, stressed-out lives when they are enmeshed in social structures of suffering? Money, Sex, War, Karma is a direct, articulate, profound response to such concerns.
The core insight of this book brings immense relief to those who’ve been searching for the way to respond to social suffering. Just as everything is empty of inherent self, the social path is empty of an ideology that tells us what to do. Just as Dhamma throws us back on awareness itself, social practice throws us back on working out the path together.
David Loy, Zen teacher and philosopher, skillfully and succinctly analyzes primary areas of our collective modern entanglements with suffering: consumerism, money values, ecological collapse, sexuality, relationships, time, language, identity, godlessness and the commodification of consciousness. In every case, he brings to bear the core teachings of the Buddha in profound, up-to-date reflections on our collective situation. Repeatedly, he reminds us that our culture’s habitual assumptions, thinking and behavior are killing us. Minor reforms and changes of political, social or lifestyle fashion will not save us.
For those like me who’ve wanted a social path handily laid out, or for those who’ve been reluctant to get involved for whatever doubts, or for those too busy with their own pursuits, this book makes clear that we cannot dawdle any longer.