Buddha at the Apocalypse - Foreword
In a critical scene in James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Avatar, a human character warns the aliens of the planet Pandora of the danger his people represent to all Pandoran life. “There’s no green there,” he says of his own home world. “They’ve killed their planet, their mother.” And, he says, they’ll do that to Pandora as well. It’s a powerful artistic evocation of a future we recklessly race to bring about.
But why is this so? Why do both the masses and our dominant elite insist on self-destruction in the name of “progress”? Why do we rush lemming-like toward the precipice of ecocide, genocide, and suicide?
In this truly apocalyptic era, Kurt Spellmeyer has combined his broad and deep understanding of Western religious and philosophical literatures with his Zen learning and meditational practice to illuminate part of the answer of how we got here. He has produced an insightful analysis of what he identifies as an “apocalyptic orientation” toward time itself that has built a “mental architecture that continues to shape modern life.”
Buddha at the Apocalypse is easy going, well written, and solidly reasoned—and lively in the way it interweaves Biblical analysis, Zen literature, and Western philosophy and sociology with popular culture and deep wisdom. I am delighted to greet this important and meaningful work and wish its author and many readers a fruitful walk in its garden of perceptive insights and heartfelt advice.
Robert A.F. Thurma
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© Kurt Spellmeyer, Buddha at the Apocalypse (Wisdom Publications, 2010)
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