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Chappell, David W. 1940-2004

CHAPPELL, David W. 1940-2004

(David Wellington Chappell)

PERSONAL: Born February 3, 1940, in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada; died of heart failure December 2, 2004, in Laguna Hills, CA; son of Hayward Lynsin and Mary Elvira (Mosher) Chappell; immigrated to United States, 1966; married Bertha Vera Bidulock, August 23, 1960 (divorced, January, 1976); married Stella Quemada, July 11, 1981; children: (first marriage) Cynthia, Mark; (second marriage) Cindy, Laura, Gwen, Jeanne. Education: Mt. Allison University, B.A., 1961; McGill University, B.D., 1965; Yale University, Ph.D., 1976.

CAREER: United Church of Canada, Elma, Ontario, Canada, minister, 1964–66; University of Hawaii, Honolulu, professor of religion, 1971–2000, director of Buddhist studies program, 1987–92; University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, assistant professor of religion, 1977–78; Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, CA, professor of comparative studies, 2000–04. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, visiting professor, 1982; Taisho University, Tokyo, Japan, visiting lecturer, 1986–88. East West Religions Project, Honolulu, director 1980–2000.

MEMBER: Society of Buddhist-Christian Studies (cofounder, 1988; president, 1993–95).

AWARDS, HONORS: Several grants from peace organizations.



(With Michael Saso) Buddhist and Taoist Studies ("Asian Studies at Hawaii" series), two volumes, University Press of Hawaii (Honolulu, HI), 1977.

(And author of introduction) Chèegwan, Tèien-tèai Buddhism: An Outline of the Fourfold Teachings, compiled by Masao Ichishima, Daiichi-Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1983.

Buddhist and Taoist Practice in Medieval Chinese Society ("Buddhist and Taoist Studies" series), University of Hawaii Press (Honolulu, HI), 1987.

Unity in Diversity: Hawaii's Buddhist Communities, 1997.

Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures of Peace, Wisdom Publications (Somerville, MA), 1999.

(With Majid Tehranian) Dialogue of Civilizations: A New Peace Agenda for a New Millennium ("Global Peace and Policy" series), I. B. Tauris (New York, NY), 2002.

Founding editor of Buddhist-Christian Studies Journal.

SIDELIGHTS: David W. Chappell was an educator whose primary interest was the history and practice of Buddhism. A peace advocate, he was also a founder of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and the editor of its publication.

Born in Canada, Chappell was a professor of religion at the University of Hawaii for most of his career and the editor of a number of volumes, including Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures of Peace. The idea for the volume grew from the 1994 United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conference that focused on ways in which religion can help bring about peace. Published in collaboration with the Boston Research Center for the Twenty-first Century, the volume contains contributions by contemporary Buddhist scholars from the three Buddhist traditions: the Theravada or "Way of the Elders"; Mahayana (China and Korea); and the Vajrayana (Tibet and Mongolia). The essays are rooted in both monastic and nonmonastic structure, the latter having gained prominence during the twentieth century.

Many of the contributors write from their own experiences. The Dalai Lama advises on creating compatibility among religions, while A. T. Ariyaratne writes of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and that region's adoption of the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi. Maha Ghosananda's experience has been in uniting Cambodia after the occupation of the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese conflict. The work of Tzu Chi, the most prominent Taiwanese relief agency, is documented by Shih Chang-yen, who is sometimes referred to as "the Mother Theresa of Asia." Buddhism in the West is studied by Robert Aitken, who reports on prison and hospice work, and sustainable agriculture. Karma Lekshe Tsomo notes in his contributing essay that in such countries as Burma, China, Tibet, and Cambodia, horrendous atrocities have been committed, and Stephanie Kaza examines Buddhism's place in the repair and preservation of the ecosystem.

In reviewing Buddhist Peacework, Kenneth Kraft wrote in Buddhist-Christian Studies that "one of Buddhism's distinctive teachings on the subject of peace is the practice of 'internal disarmament,' the term used by the Dalai Lama in his essay. Unless individuals are able to tame the forces of greed, anger, and delusion in their own minds, the prospects for peace between communities and between nations are slim." As Chappell writes in his introduction, 'Today there is a new urgency for that [inner] peacework to be manifest socially, ecologically, and materially.'" Noting the continuing evolution of Buddhism in both the Eastern and Western world and the increasing number of writings that document the process, Kraft concluded by calling Buddhist Peacework "a worthy addition to this expanding field."

Chappell left the University of Hawaii in 2000 to teach in California. He died there, of heart failure, in 2004.



Buddhist-Christian Studies (annual), 2001, Kenneth Kraft, review of Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures of Peace, p. 155.

International Journal of World Peace, September, 2001, Rene Wadlow, review of Buddhist Peacework, p. 89.

Publishers Weekly, April 24, 2000, review of Buddhist Peacework, p. 87.



Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2004.

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