Là bút hiệu của Thượng Tọa Thích Tâm Thiện, Viện Chủ Tu Viện Cát Trắng, 4640 Knost Dr., Mims, FL 32754. Tel: 321-383- 0723
Đây là lời giới thiệu của viện trưởng Indiana University:
Khai Thien a.k.a Thich Tam Thien, however, offers s on making Buddhism relevant and meaningful, despite the hardships of the age. Khai Thien is new to America, but his work at Chua Viet Nam in Los Angeles is already well known both in the Vietnamese community and among other Buddhists in Los Angeles. And he has been a wonderful friend to me. He is not only knowledgeable and wise, but kind and helpful as well—the fullness of a bodhisattva's virtues! And here, in this book, we can see that his thoughts on Buddhism in the modern world are relevant and necessary. In his Buddhist General Semantics, Khai Thien has given us an intriguing picture of how Buddhism and contemporary normative explorations of living the good life from non-Buddhist sources can complement one another. As he writes, in his conclusion, the basis of this complementary relationship is that "…both general semantics and Buddhism focus on the search for truth and self-realization, self-discovery, and self-awareness…." His goal is to place Buddhism under the lens of general semantics and thereby find new ways for understanding the Buddha's teachings. But he wants to shake us up, not cast us adrift in a sea of unfamiliar Buddhist terms, Sanskrit and Pali phrases. He wants to connect our Buddhist thoughts and our Buddhist words to our everyday acts, to how we actually live in the world. To that end, Khai Thien grounds his discussion in the everyday, the familiar—orange juice and advertisements and contemporary psychology. With a little help—some finger pointing and some explanations—and a little concentration, we can see that Buddhism was not really ever so very exotic or remote.
Khai Thien's work here is both a good general introduction to some basic (and not so basic) tenets of Buddhism, as well as a prescriptive view on how Buddhism can work in the modern world, how being a Buddhist can work in the modern world. His discussion is not easy or simple. Neither is it simplistic. He lays out a complicated and intricate picture of Buddhism with work on general semantics. But he always finds ways of making what he says connect with out own lives. Khai Thien has over twenty years of experience as a Buddhist monk and teacher in Vietnam. Now, in a new Buddhist world, he takes pains to make those teachings practical, connect them to, as he writes, "the living reactions of human beings." I am particularly drawn, in closing, to his discussion of silence in the last chapter. Silence is not something we are accustomed to dealing with here in America—or anywhere, I imagine. We know of silence as absence, as a lack of activity. It is the silence, as Thay Khai Thien write, of the battlefield after the fight is over, of the cessation of movement. But there is another kind of silence, that of mental concentration, of striving for something, fully focused on the task, at one with ones thoughts and actions. "Such a noble silence must be the first and foremost discipline for us to get in touch with our sanity and depart for our spiritual journey as well," he writes. To that end, I welcome this book and all of Khai Thien's work in America.
Douglas M. Padgett, Indiana University