Why the Dalai Lama is a Socialist

Buddhism and the Compassionate Society

Terry Gibbs


A unique rethinking of Buddhist and socialist values, and how together they might bring about a better world.
To the surprise of many, the Dalai Lama recently declared that, 'I am a socialist'.

While many Buddhists and socialists would be perplexed at the suggestion that their approaches to life share fundamental principles, important figures in the Buddhist tradition are increasingly framing contemporary social and economic problems in distinctly socialist terms. In this novel and provocative work, Terry Gibbs argues that the shared values expressed in each tradition could provide signposts for creating a truly humane, compassionate and free society.

Hopeful about our potential to create the ‘good society’ through collective effort, Why the Dalai Lama is a Socialist is grounded in the fundamental belief that everyday human activity makes a difference.

Author Bio

Terry Gibbs teaches international politics at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and is co-author, with Garry Leech, of The Failure of Global Capitalism: From Cape Breton to Colombia and Beyond (2009).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Much Ado About No-Thing
  • 2. Compassion is a Verb
  • 3. Living in an Alienated World
  • 4. Consumer Citizens in a Globalized Society
  • 5. Bodies in the Basement
  • 6. Capitalism and the Democratic Deficit
  • 7. In Search of the Global Citizen
  • Conclusion


‘The Dalai Lama has long voiced a need for Buddhists to be involved in societal and political change as well as inner transformation. Gibbs’s work advocates moving towards a more compassionate world, and starts to explore a vision for a future without suffering.’
Sulak Sivaraksa, founder of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists

‘This book could not have been published at a more appropriate time. Immersed as we are in an economy of greed, it offers a vital message of hope and compassionate action for justice and equality.’
Vandana Shiva, activist and author of Earth Democracy


Publication Date: 15 March 2017
272 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783606443
Hardback: 9781783606450
eBook ePub: 9781783606474
eBook PDF: 9781783606467
eBook Kindle: 9781783606481

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