The life story of one of the most important Buddhists in the last one hundred years. A household name in Thailand but still relatively unknown in the United States, Sulak Siviraksa joins with the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn in articulating a Buddhism that engages fully to advocate non-violently for social justice. Siviraksa, who founded the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, spent the the latter portion of 2017 under arrest and charged with lèse majesté (insulting the king) in Thailand. His story is of particular relevance to today's United States.
Sivaraksa's life exemplifies what 21st century leaders and activists need -- mindfulness, skillful means, and a fiercely kind heart. Roar weaves together Sulak Sivaraksa's struggle for social justice together with his spiritual life and his own equally challenging inner battles. For his activism, writings, and firebrand speeches, Sivaraksa has been exiled from Thailand twice, jailed and harassed, and repeatedly prosecuted for defaming the Thai monarchy. Still, no authority has been able to silence his roar.
Roar is the biography of this renowned Thai Buddhist activist, critic, and indomitable defender of the disenfranchised. Pistono's deft prose weaves together the story of Siviraksa's over fifty years of social-justice work and the leader's struggles with his spiritual life, inner demons, and work to balance meditation and family life with his tireless campaigns to affect change. Over forty vintage and historical black-and-white photos illustrate both Sulak's life and a turbulent period in Thailand's history. As a remarkable figure in the Asian Buddhist world, Siviraksa has given us a blueprint for peaceful, nonviolent social activism in the 21st century.
Matteo Pistono was born and raised in Wyoming. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Indian Philosophy from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. After working with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. on Tibetan cultural programs, Pistono lived and traveled throughout the Himalayas for a decade, bringing to the West graphic accounts and photos of China's human rights abuses in Tibet. He is the author of Meditation: Coming to Know Your Mind, Fearless in Tibet: The Life of the Mystic Tertön Sogyal, and In the Shadow of the Buddha: One Man's Journey of Discovery in Tibet. His writing and photography have appeared in the Washington Post, Men's Journal, Kyoto Journal, Tricycle.org, Lionsroar.com, HIMAL South Asia, and on BBC News. Pistono spent three years researching and writing Roar, interviewing individuals in Thailand, the United States, India, Japan, England, and Germany. He recorded more than 50 hours of interviews with Sulak and traveled with him extensively throughout Thailand, the United States, and India, and had access to Sulak's personal library, and large circle of friends, colleagues, and associates.