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Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism by Stephanie Kaza and Kenneth Kraft

2000; 490 pp. $24.95. Shambhala.

The religion-environment dialogue is maturing, shifting from making a theological case for care of the Earth to evaluating strategies, addressing faiths' internal contradictions, and identifying public policy implications of beliefs. Both these books are resources for this next stage. Visions treats faith in the market economy as a religion. It finds mandates for limiting population even within pronatalist traditions. Its contributors "do not [believe] that the world will be saved by yet one more scholarly volume"; the next phase of their project is a manual that recasts their arguments in the idiom of policy makers. Dharma Rain builds on Allan Hunt Badiner's Dharma Gaia (Whole Earth Review, Winter 1990) with heartful traditional teachings and modern interpretations, but ventures further into such new ground as specific efforts at engagement, Buddhist resources against despair and burnout, and self-criticism of Buddhism's own conflicts and gaps.

"...our present economic system should also be understood as our religion, because it has come to fulfill a religious function for us. The discipline of economics is less a science than the theology of that religion, and its god, the Market, has become a vicious circle of ever-increasing production and consumption by pretending to offer a secular salvation. The collapse of communism makes it more apparent that the Market is becoming the first truly world religion.... " ?David R. Loy in Visions of a New Earth



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