Spiritual teacher, activist, social critic, poet, Ph.D. in Buddhist psychology, and author of books like Zen Therapy, The Feeling Buddha, and Love and Its Disappointment, Dharmavidya David Brazier has packed several lifetimes into his 64 years. His essay “Living Buddhism” draws on many of them, notably his grounding in Carl Rogers’s Person Centered Approach to psychotherapy, and his longtime Buddhist practice.
“Carl Rogers saw the psychology of his day getting lost in technique and losing its soul in the process,” Brazier says. “In my article, I ask if the same thing is happening to Buddhism as it enters our commercial, technology-worshipping Western culture. It’s worth taking stock on this question. A small change of course could make a world of difference.”
Brazier founded the Amida Order, a Pure Land Buddhist sangha, and co-founded the Amida Trust, which offers Other-Centered and environmental psychotherapy, and oversees an international community of people from many spiritual traditions. “I practice Buddhism, yet am a religious universalist,” Brazier says. His interest in spirituality dates back to religious visions in childhood. “I never ‘found faith’—I was born with it.”
Today, when Brazier isn’t traveling to teach, he splits his time between homes in the U.K. and Spain.
Alison Wright, whose photographs appear in “Living Buddhism” and on the cover, has spent more than 20 years capturing what she calls “the universal human spirit” in her photography and writing. Her evocative portraits document traditions and changing cultures in some of the remotest parts of the world.
Wright’s images have put a human face on international aid organizations like UNICEF and SEVA, and on disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti. “When you hear that 230,000 are killed in an earthquake, the numbers are almost too much for us to comprehend,” she has said. “But when you look into the eyes of one child, the situation becomes more personal.” Wright’s foundation, the Faces of Hope Fund (www.facesofhope.org), helps support grassroots organizations focused on children’s rights and welfare. Faces of Hope is also the title of her book chronicling the lives of children in developing countries. Wright’s other books include The Dalai Lama: A Simple Monk, based on her two-decade friendship with His Holiness, and The Spirit of Tibet: Portrait of a Culture in Exile.
Recipient of the prestigious Dorothea Lange Award in Documentary Photography, Wright has twice won the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award.