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Faces of Compassion

Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression — An Introduction to Mahayana Buddhism

Foreword by Joan Halifax Roshi
Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

2013 Nautilus Book Award — Gold Medal in Religion/Spirituality — Eastern

Faces of Compassion introduces us to enlightened beings, the bodhisattvas of Buddhist lore. They're not otherworldly gods with superhuman qualities but shining examples of our own highest potential. Archetypes of wisdom and compassion, the bodhisattvas of Buddhism are powerful and compelling images of awakening. Scholar and Zen teacher Taigen Dan Leighton engagingly explores the imagery and lore of the seven most important of these archetypal figures, bringing them alive as psychological and spiritual wellsprings.

Emphasizing the universality of spiritual ideas, Leighton finds aspects of bodhisattvas expressed in a variety of familiar modern personages - from Muhammad Ali to Mahatma Gandhi, from Bob Dylan to Henry Thoreau, and from Gertrude Stein to Mother Teresa. This edition contains a revised and expanded introduction that frames the book as a exciting and broad-scoped view of Mahayana Buddhism. It's updated throughout to make it of more use to scholars and a perfect companion to survey courses of world religions or a 200-level course on Buddhism.

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Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (May 1, 2012)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781614290148

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Raves and Reviews

"Faces of Compassion captures the poignant truth that that a bodhisattva may appear in the form of a pirate or a spiritual leader and modernizes it, bringing the bodhisattva ideal into the present."

– Tricycle

"In his wonderful book Leighton animates the history of Buddhism and offers insight into human nature and contemporary culture."

– Turning Wheel

"What Leighton offers is the living tradition of Mahayana Buddhism: diverse, mysterious, vibrant, real."

– Journal of Buddhist Ethics

"Edifying and imaginative..A modern spiritual classic."

– Spirituality and Health

"Faces of Compassion is a wonderful resource and source of guidance and teaching…an invaluable companion to our lives."

– Joan Halifax Roshi, Head Teacher, Upaya Institute

"The lay reader will take from the book an appreciation for the complexity of Buddhist doctrine as well as a sense that bodhisattvas may well be living amongst us."

– Foreword magazine

"Vigorous and inspiring, Faces of Compassion guides the reader into the awakening life within our contemporary world. An informative, useful, exhilarating work."

– Jane Hirshfield, author of Women in Praise of the Sacred

"A clear-as-a-bell introduction to Buddhist thought."

– Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Senior Dharma Teacher of San Francisco Zen Center and author of Benedict's Dharma

"Taigen Dan Leighton has lovingly illumined still another dimension of the human condition."

– John Daishin Buksbazen, author of Zen Meditation in Plain English

"This is useful as a fine axe...the perfect antidote to today's spiritual materialism."

– Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall

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