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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Somerville Publisher Shares Wisdom

May 4, 2009

By Renee Nadeau
The Boston Herald
  May 3, 2009

Tim McNeill uses the Buddhist term "right
livelihood" to describe his career as president
of a Somerville Publishing House that specializes in Buddhist writings.

"Every day you go to work and you feel like
you’re contributing to a better world, to a more
peaceful world," he said from his office at
Wisdom Publishing, which this week published the
visiting Dalai Lama’s latest book, "The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason."

McNeill once hosted the Dalai Lama at his
Brookline home (the world-famous peace activist
now has a Secret Service detail). A graduate of
Harvard’s Kennedy School, he first encountered
the Dalai Lama in 1972 after a yearlong odyssey in India.

McNeill then joined the Peace Corps, spending
four years in Afghanistan "before anyone knew where Afghanistan was."

He opted out of a career in Washington after
Ronald Reagan took the White House, then joined
Michael Dukakis’ failed presidential campaign
before being asked to take the helm at the
struggling, London-based Wisdom Publishing.

McNeill took over as president and CEO 21 years
ago, working in that capacity for five years
while moving the publishing house to the Boston
area and transforming the young, debt-ridden company into a stable nonprofit.

McNeill said interest in Buddhism in the United
States has jumped in the last 20 years. Surveys
have placed the number of American converts at
400,000 to 800,000 - but those numbers don’t
include people who have accepted Buddhist
teachings and practices without formally calling themselves Buddhists.

McNeill planned to present the Dalai Lama with a
copy of the new book at his Gillette Stadium
visit yesterday. "I hope that people would take
to heart the Dalai Lama’s essential message of
the importance and power of kindness and compassion," he said.
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