Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
In this simple but important volume, Stephen Batchelor reminds us that the Buddha was not a mystic who claimed privileged, esoteric knowledge of the universe, but a man who challenged us to understand the nature of anguish, let go of its origins, and bring into being a way of life tha ...more
For some reason this book took me two months to read. At 120 pages, that means I averaged a whopping two pages a day. Yay, me! Not that I read ...more
The "without Beliefs" of the title is, frankly, a lie. Perhaps this is a description of Buddhism with something subtracted, such as the mystical mumbo jumbo that seems to inhere in anything as old as a major world religion (and, of course, especially in religions), but there are still plenty of beliefs.
For example, the ...more
1. Fellow atheists and sort of Reason-oriented folks with a mistrust of religion. Point isn't try Buddhism, it's Different; as getting the point across about what Buddhism is about/after.
2. Folks who have embraced Buddhism but seem to have gotten the wrong idea about it (ha! as if I knew what the right idea was)
Quotes I found helpful:
"Dharma practice can never be in contradiction with science, not because it provides some mystical validation ...more
Batchelor's book is a polemic against the modern transformation of Buddhism into something as dogmatic and unquestioning as Western religions. He points out that Buddhism is a personal practice of continual awareness and questioning, not a set of beliefs, commitm ...more
And this was fr ...more
To join the Big Clubs or Cults of Catholicism, Hill Song, the Evangelicals etc. etc one must accept a certain set of so-called truths which in no way impinge on the ethical. (I've known plenty who swear by the Virgin Birth but cheat on their wives.)
Buddhism, shorn of its religious trappings of prayer wheels, exotic names, orange robes, priesthoods, hierarchies and consequent blinding fog etc. becomes no set of beliefs but a way of behaving, which we often stumble upon ourselves through sheer c ...more
I was going to fault Batchelor for not explicitly pointing out the ways in which this secular Buddhism is so strikingly si ...more
One thought that kept occurring to me as I read was to try to figure out if the book was appropriate for beginners to Buddhism, or strictly for more experienced sorts. Honestly, I'm still not sure about that, because exactly how to clas ...more
Cultivate compassion. Accept the truth. Keep your mind pure. Align your actions with pure intentions. Don't act out of worldly-concepts (diseases) such as anger, revenge, gain, pain, greed, recognition, loss, desire, reputation. Free your mind from these diseases and you will be free, wherever you are. In my opinion, it is all common sense. But not all of us think enough to realize that.
This book convinced me that 1 pe ...more
He goes on: "This confusion is not a state of darkness in which I fail to see anything. It is partial blindness rather than sightlessness."
One way in which w ...more
The pop ...more
He argues that the Buddha's acceptance of reincarnation is due to his culture and points out that Buddha always said that dharma practice is valuable even if rei ...more
Stephen Batchelor has written a very short little book in which he writes a lot of very sensible things about the way Buddhist religiosity gets in the way of Buddhist practice. His best example is that of the Four Ennobling Truths, which get turned into propositions of fact to be believed before one can proceed, that "Life is Suffering," "Suffering is caused by Desire," "To escape Suffering one must eliminate Desire," and "Having eliminated Desire, one must avoid returning to it," and so on. Bat...more
In 2010, Stephen Batchelor published a book entitled Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, which was praised by Christopher Hitchens for "add[ing] the universe of Buddhism to the many fields in which received truth and blind faith are now giving way to ethical and scientific humanism, in which lies our only real hope" (back cover). Thirteen years before, Batchelor had published a similar book, Buddhism Without Beliefs, in which he challenges certain Buddhist orthodox bel ...more
OK, I'm back. Really, I'll give this a solid 3.5. Since I'm going to ramble more in the other review, I'll summarize my thinking about this volume on it's own. Its good basic explication of Buddhist wisdom and teachings, separated from the Buddhist religious tenets of rebirth and karma (particularly as a force acting on a given "soul" ...more