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"Right Development" examines the Santi Asoke Buddhist Reform Movement of Thailand as a culturally and environmentally appropriate alternative to western development programs. The Asoke group's aim is not a Western ideal, to accumulate high levels of material comfort, but a Buddhist ideal to release attachment to the material world and attain spiritual freedom. Ethnographic research at one Asoke community illuminates how Asoke beliefs and practices foster development on three levels: the individual, community, and society. A closer look at "a day in the life" of four women provides further insight into this development. This book stipulates that development must be culturally/locally situated, focused on livelihoods rather than economic growth, environmentally sustainable, and endogenously inspired, implemented, and maintained. The intent here is not to offer a new meta-strategy for global development but to underscore the need for diverse responses to the vast array of economic, social, and environmental dilemmas. "Right Development" offers alternatives for sustainable development perfect for scholars of Buddhism or Thailand.
About the Author
Juliana Essen is adjunct professor at Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, California.