The New Buddhism states clearly and boldly that Buddhism should be and originally was about engagement with the world and about the practice of truth and compassion. It shows that for genuine spiritual renewal Buddhism must be about more than contemplation and personal growth.
Buddhism is 'a raft to carry one across the stream, not something to burden one when one reaches the other shore. Get across that stream as quickly as possible, was [the Buddha's] message, there's work to do on the other side . . .'
Brazier restores the idea of the Buddha as a spiritual leader with a vision of a peaceful revolution and takes a completely new look at many aspects of Buddhism, reinterpreting them in terms of the Buddha's social aims. Western and eastern visions of enlightenment are compared; the mystique of lineage is questioned; the positive social record of Buddhism is examined and Buddhist practice - ethics, mind-training, the teacher-disciple relationship, refuge and renunciation - is reassessed. Above all, the author draws a line between 'extinction' Buddhism and 'liberation' Buddhism - the former aiming to free the individual from this world, and the latter aiming to perfect this world by freeing it from the large scale forces of greed and delusion.
This book is a manifesto for a more active, compassionate and socially engaged Buddhism - one grounded in the Buddha's original intention.