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2. NOW AVAILABLE: ‘On Being Human’
5. HOST A READING GROUP: Free Discussion Guides
6. LIKE OUR BOOKS? Write a review.


Guy Bourgeault: Essentially good health is less the absence of illness than the tension between a precarious equilibrium and the constant dynamic of its reestablishment. I like to compare it to walking. Walking is possible only if we are willing to accept the risk of losing our balance by moving forward. A new step temporarily restores the balance until we move still farther forward. A chain of lost and restored balance enables us to walk. A similar process in societies makes history possible.

Daisaku Ikeda: I like your description of good health as a dynamic rather than static reality. According to the Indian Buddhist sutra The Wanderer’s Collection (Caraka Samhita), freedom from sickness is fundamental to human life and the basis of good works, success, sexual desire, and liberation from the bonds of illusion and suering in the three worlds. “Freedom from sickness” means more than the absence of illness. Good health is judged not only on the basis of physiological diagnoses of abnormalities, but also on a holistic view of life that includes spiritual elements.

—‘On Being Human,’ p. 52


On Being Human: Where Ethics, Medicine and Spirituality Converge will be available as of Sept. 1. Ask for it at your favorite neighborhood or on-line bookseller.

This exploration of what it means to be healthy from a physical, mental, and spiritual standpoint discusses Western humanism, Japanese Buddhism, and modern science from three divergent, yet expert, perspectives. Seeking common ground through dialogue, this ambitious work broaches questions about issues that face today’s society, such as cancer, AIDS, death with dignity, in vitro fertilization, biomedical ethics, and more. The discussions cut through linguistic and cultural barriers to present a vision of the potential—and the inherent challenges—of being human.

Avoiding scientific jargon, the book begins with a medical discussion of cancer and AIDS, as well as the problem of social discrimination against those infected. Questions about the fundamental nature of a harmonious existence are considered, as are specific issues such as the nature of brain death and ethical problems relating to fertility and childbirth. The origins of life, evolution, and the birth of humanity are also discussed.


“On Being Human is an elegant and timely dialogue. Accessible yet profound, it illustrates the convergence of medical science, bioethics and Buddhist philosophy. Informative and hopeful, it offers wise perspectives on life and death, revealing their deeper meaning and higher purpose. Its three sagacious voices speak as one, to all.”

—Lou Marinoff, author of Plato not Prozac and The Big Questions

"Like a good novel, this trialogue focuses on the human condition through life's triumphs and despairs. With clarity of spirit, knowledge and experience our three story tellers invite a new exploration on the issues of health, disease, death and our own philosophy on living. As a pastoral care giver who deals with people's search for meaning and their spiritual suffering, I find that On Being Human shines a new light on an ageless subject."

—Rabbi Tamara Miller, Director Pastoral Care, George Washington University Hospital

Check out our website,, for more information and a sample chapter. Discussion guides are also available. E-mail for your free copy.


Healing arts professionals and Culture Department members throughout the country are invited to host an “On Being Human” Health Seminar this fall at your local SGI-USA community or culture center.

Based on President Ikeda’s soon-to-be-published dialogue, On Being Human, the seminars will focus on what it means to be healthy—physically, mentally and spiritually. Healing Arts Division leader Alwin Harding and Culture Department leader Eric Hauber envision these seminars as occasions where lay people and professionals can learn about and discuss the real meaning of health from a variety of angles and share the wisdom and humanism contained in the new book.

“In addition to being a hope-filled guide for all people, the dialogue is a great tool for Healing Arts Division members to help us infuse Buddhist humanism into our profession,” Dr. Harding says.

Details about these seminars, including a proposed agenda and steps for inviting a local bookstore in to sell the book, are available from Dr. Harding ( or Middleway Press (; 310-260-8955). More information about the book, including a sample chapter, is available at
(For people interested in hosting a book discussion at their neighborhood bookstore separate from these seminars, a discussion guide is available from Middleway Press.)

“We hope every area or region’s culture department will consider holding such a seminar,” says Dr. Harding “to help bring hope and health to all our friends.”


Choose Hope, SGI President Ikeda’s dialogue with Nuclear Age Peace Foundation President David Krieger, won the silver Book of the Year award from ForeWord Magazine in the political science category. ForeWord’s Book of the Year program is one of the most prestigious for independent presses, and entries in each of 47 categories are judged on editorial excellence, professional production as well as the value the book adds to its genre.

Last year, ForeWord gave the silver award to For the Sake of Peace, which also won the Nautilus award from another trade association, NAPRA.


Reading group discussions—in your home, at a bookstore or in a library—are great opportunities to learn something new, see things in a new way, examine deeply held beliefs or simply to enjoy the company of other book lovers.

Middleway Press is happy to provide free discussion guides for any of its books. These handy guides give you everything you need to host a successful meeting: a descriptive summary, topics to consider, endorsements and hosting tips.

For copies of any of guides, contact us at


If you like our books, won't you take a moment to tell other people why? Websites such as, Barnes and and invite readers to post short reviews of books.

Click on the following websites, then go to the appropriate book page and click 'Write a Review.'

And if you frequent chat rooms or newsgroups on topics covered by our books, feel free to mention them there, too. For instance, there are dozens of teen-oriented sites that accept book reviews only from teens. These would be a great place for comments on 'The Way of Youth.'

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