Clifford's Reviews > Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor
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Jan 02, 11

bookshelves: philosophyandreligion
Read from November 23, 2010 to January 01, 2011

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although it dragged a bit toward the end as Batchelor recounts the life of Buddha, a story that isn't as relevant to his premise as I think he thinks it is. Still, Batchelor's journey from his UK upbringing to studies in India to a shift in schools of Buddhism to secular Buddhism is quite fascinating. He articulates the problem I've had all my life with Buddhism since I first read Hesse's Siddartha in high school--I don't buy the supernatural aspects of it any more than I buy Christianity's supernatural. Despite the appeal of Zen, and my connections to Korean Buddhism from my time there, I've leaned toward Theravada on the theory that it is at least closer to the original and is less dependent on the mystical. But still it is, and that's been unsettling for me. Batchelor explains why, and I'm grateful for that. The book reinforces for me the distinction between Buddhism as a philosophy and way of life--which I endorse--and a religion, which I don't.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Pamela I enjoyed this book, Cliff--let me know what you think of it.


Clifford Pamela, have you read his others? I sometimes see his articles in Tricycle but haven't read his books.


Pamela I have a book of his on the spread of Buddhism in the West which I read a long time ago & remember as informative. I also bought a book whose title now escapes me, on the concept of evil ... I'm meaning to get to it.


Pamela thanks for your review, Cliff--my sentiments (about the book and about the supernatural vs. philosophical aspects of Buddhism) exactly.


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