August 26, 2003
Book helps people build bridge over troubled waters
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. A Purdue University philosophy professor gathered letters and reflections from today's greatest religious leaders, such as the Dali Lama and Pope John Paul II, so their spiritual advice could help people find peace and overcome suffering.
Purdue's Donald Mitchell was an organizer of a meeting between the world's spiritual leaders who gathered in April 2002 at the Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, the home of the late Thomas Merton, to discuss life's most difficult questions. Merton was an author and friend of the Dali Lama.
"At first, the discussion was meant to be about violence and religious tensions, but we realized there are other concerns and suffering that are taking a great toll on all of us, such as aging, sickness, emotional distress and facing death," said Mitchell, co-editor of "Transforming Suffering: Reflections on Finding Peace in Troubled Times." "This book gives advice on facing our troubling times and transforming them into moments of growth and grace. Today we see more and more that spiritual resources are needed to address these problems."
An Image paperback ($12.95) released this month, the book is a collection of spiritual reflections of transforming suffering from religious leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, Thomas Keating, Joseph Goldstein, Robert Aitken and Thubten Chodron. The collection was edited by Mitchell and James Wiseman, theology professor at the Catholic University of America and a Benedictine monk at Saint Anselm's Abbey in Washington, D.C.
"The diversity of voices in this book makes this collection appealing to the global community," said Mitchell, a member of the religious studies program at Purdue.
For example, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the Fourteenth Dali Lama shares his thoughts on transforming suffering.
"The nature of suffering changes depending on your mental attitude and the way you look at it," said the Dali Lama. "If you are able to transform adverse situations into factors of the spiritual path, hindrances will become favorable conditions for spiritual practice."
Other themes in the book include emotional healing, freedom from attachments, overcoming violence, and accepting sickness and aging, as well as facing death.
Mitchell has been actively involved in interfaith relations and dialogue for 30 years and has published six books, including "Spirituality and Emptiness and Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience." He also has helped organize international interfaith conferences, seminars and workshops on Buddhism and Christianity in North America, Europe and Asia.
Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Don Mitchell, (765) 494-4281, email@example.com
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NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Review copies of "Transforming Suffering: Reflections on Finding Peace in Trouble Times" are available by contacting Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723, firstname.lastname@example.org.