Time to Stand Up
An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth -- The Buddha's Life and Message through Feminine Eyes
Time to Stand Up retells the story of the historical Buddha, one of the greatest sacred activists of all time, as a practical human being whose teachings of freedom from suffering are more relevant than ever in this time of global peril. Evolving onward from the patriarchal template of spiritual warriors and their quests, former nun Thanissara explores awakening from within a feminine view where the archetypes of lover and nurturer are placed as central and essential for a sustainable world.
Vital is an investigation into the pinnacle of Buddhist practice, the realization of the “liberated heart.” Thanissara questions the narrative of “transcendence” and invites us into the lived reality of our deepest heart as it guides our journey of healing, reclamation, and redemption. As the book unfolds, the author examines traditional Buddhism–often fraught with gender discrimination–and asks the important question, “Can Buddhist schools, overly attached to hierarchal power structures, and often divorced from the radical and free inquiry exemplified by the Buddha, truly offer the ground for maturing awakening without undertaking a fundamental review of their own shadows?”
Chapter by chapter, the book relates Siddhartha Gautama’s awakening to the sea-change occurring on Earth in present time as we as a civilization become aware of the ethical bankruptcy of the nuclear and fossil fuel industry and the psychopathic corporate and military abuse of power currently terrorizing our planet. Thanissara relates the Buddha’s story to real-life individuals who are living through these transitional times, such as Iraq war veterans, First Nation People, and the Dalai Lama. Time to Stand Up gives examples of the Buddha’s activism, such as challenging a racist caste system and violence against animals, stopping war, transforming a serial killer, and laying down a nonhierarchical structure of community governance, actions that would seem radical even today.
Thanissara explores ways forward, deepening our understanding of meditation and mindfulness, probing its use to pacify ourselves as the cogs in the corporate world by helping people be more functional in a dysfunctional systems–and shows how these core Buddhist practices can inspire a wake-up call for action for our sick and suffering planet Earth.
About the Sacred Activism series
When the joy of compassionate service is combined with the pragmatic drive to transform all existing economic, social, and political institutions, a radical divine force is born: Sacred Activism. The Sacred Activism Series, published by North Atlantic Books, presents leading voices that embody the tenets of Sacred Activism–compassion, service, and sacred consciousness–while addressing the crucial issues of our time and inspiring radical action.
About the Author
THANISSARA is Anglo-Irish and originally from London. She trained in the Burmese Vipassana School of Meditation for three years, and was a Buddhist nun in the Thai Forest School of Ajahn Chah for twelve years. She has taught Buddhist meditation internationally for thirty years, and has a Master of Arts in Mindfulness Based Core Process Psychotherapy and a Post-Qualification Master of Arts in Mindfulness Based Psychotherapeutic Practice from the Karuna Institute of Middlesex University in London. She is a cofounder and guiding teacher of Dharmagiri Meditation Centre (South Africa) and Chattanooga Insight (Tennessee), a core teacher at Insight Meditation Society (Massachusetts), and an affiliated teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center (California). She lives between South Africa and the United States. Thanissara and Kittisaro, her husband and teaching partner, coauthored Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism, and she has written two poetry books, Garden of the Midnight Rosary and The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra, and Time To Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for the Earth.
—Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International
“Bold and authentic, passionately benevolent … Thanissara offers profound insights into the alarming global conditions of our time and a mature understanding of the impact of our collective creation—and how we secure a livable future. This brave book offers wise, radical, and practical approaches that realign universal inequities and inspire integrity, intimacy, healing, and respect.”
—Ruth King, insight meditation teacher and author of Healing Rage and Mindful of Race
“As a vibrant, fascinating, charmingly introspective look at Buddhism, this is a book that brings a sense of hope to those who engage with, and venerate, the divine feminine—not just women but also men who are strong enough of character to stand up and admit to the mistakes of the past.”
“For those who long to find in Buddhism a path dedicated to compassion-in-action, there is now a book that can illuminate the way. With clarity and deeply penetrating insight, Thanissara follows the contours of the Buddha’s awakening and emergence, both as a catalyst for the evolution of consciousness, and, inextricably related, as a caring agent of human and social transformation. She calls on us to reclaim and empower the feminine archetype, shining a light on the enlightened qualities desperately needed to counterbalance the shadow masculinity that has dominated world affairs. Please read this powerful, energizing, frightening and hopeful book, and share it with all who want to hold hands and serve the healing of our world.”
—Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“Love for the Earth. For the sake of our tortured planet, for the sake of our own awakening to life, engaged Buddhist leader Thanissara urges us to learn a new way to love.”
—Reverend Fletcher Harper, executive director of nonprofit GreenFaith, Interfaith Partners for the Environment
“In an age when our planet’s very survival is at stake, we need the timeless wisdom of women and the Buddha’s vision of all beings awakening. With Time To Stand Up, Thanissara skillfully shows us just where these paths meet and where they lead.”
—Hozan Alan Senauke, vice-abbot of Berkeley Zen Center and founder of Clear View Project
“This book is a passionate clarion call to all activists to unify profound spiritual and urgent radical action. An essential, original work of fierce wisdom and deep heart.”
—Andrew Harvey, author of Radical Passion