NOBILITY AND CIVILITY
Globalization has become an inescapable fact of contemporary life. Some leaders, in both the East and the West, believe that human rights are culture-bound and that liberal democracy is essentially Western, inapplicable to the non-Western world. How can civilized life be preserved and issues of human rights and civil society be addressed if the material forces dominating world affairs are allowed to run blindly, uncontrolled by any cross-cultural consensus on how human values can be given effective expression and direction?
In a thoughtful meditation ranging widely over several civilizations and historical eras, Wm. Theodore de Bary argues that the concepts of leadership and public morality in the major Asian traditions offer a valuable perspective on humanizing the globalization process. Turning to the classic ideals of the Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, and Japanese traditions, he investigates the nature of true leadership and its relation to learning, virtue, and education in human governance; the role in society of the public intellectual; and the responsibilities of those in power in creating and maintaining civil society.
De Bary recognizes that throughout history ideals have always come up against messy human complications. Still, he finds in the exploration and affirmation of common values a worthy attempt to grapple with persistent human dilemmas across the globe.
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At this point we turn back to the “ nobility ” of the Buddha , and ask whether , as
Buddhism spread to the East , it did not encounter similar questions as to how its
“ nobility of the spirit , ” its world - transcending pursuit of Nirvana , would relate to
In the East Asian maritime trade of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was
not unusual for books to circulate on the sea lanes among China , Korea , Japan ,
the Ryûkyûs , Taiwan , Vietnam , and on into Southeast Asia . But word ...
Thus far we have dealt with it primarily on the level of the village community , and
this is certainly appropriate for an East Asia still predominantly agricultural and
for societies still operating mostly at the opposing poles of local village and ...
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The Noble Paths of Buddha and Rama
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