Buddhism Without Beliefs presents a new interpretation of Buddhism and proposes realistic, non-religious, Buddhist solutions to the existential anguish that most of us live in.
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Does Buddhism require faith? Can an atheist or agnostic follow the Buddha’s teachings without believing in reincarnation or organized religion? This is one man’s confession. In his classic Buddhism Without Beliefs, Stephen Batchelor offered a profound, secular approach to the teachings of the Buddha that struck an emotional chord with Western readers. Now, with the same brilliance and boldness of thought, he paints a groundbreaking portrait of the historical Buddha—told from the author’s unique perspective as a former Buddhist monk and modern seeker. Drawing from the original Pali Canon, the seminal collection of Buddhist discourses compiled after the Buddha’s death by his followers, Batchelor shows us the Buddha as a flesh-and-blood man who looked at life in a radically new way. Batchelor also reveals the everyday challenges and doubts of his own devotional journey—from meeting the Dalai Lama in India, to training as a Zen monk in Korea, to finding his path as a lay teacher of Buddhism living in France. Both controversial and deeply personal, Stephen Batchelor’s refreshingly doctrine-free, life-informed account is essential reading for anyone interested in Buddhism.
From Greek kings to nineteenth-century adventurers, from missionaries to monks, the encounter of Buddhism and the West is filled with intriguing personalities in "Awaking of the West.
Kierkegaard said that faith without doubt is simply credulity, the will to believe too readily, especially without adequate evidence, and that "in Doubt can Faith begin." All people involved in spiritual practice, of whatever persuasion, must confront doubt at one time or another, and find a way beyond it to belief, however temporary. But "faith is not equivalent to mere belief. Faith is the condition of ultimate confidence that we have the capacity to follow the path of doubt to its end. And courage." In this engaging spiritual memoir, Stephen Batchelor describes his own training, first as a Tibetan Buddhist and then as a Zen practitioner, and his own direct struggles along his path. "It is most uncanny that we are able to ask questions, for to question means to acknowledge that we do not know something. But it is more than an acknowledgement: it includes a yearning to confront an unknown and illuminate it through understanding. Questioning is a quest." Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. Buddhism has survived for the past 2,500 years because of its capacity to reinvent itself in accord with the needs of the different Asian societies with which it has creatively interacted throughout its history. As Buddhism encounters modernity, it enters a vital new phase of its development. Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism's role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer.
The author of Buddhism Without Beliefs bridges the gap between Western and Eastern philosophy with this humanist approach to Buddhism. This uniquely contemporary guide to understanding the timeless message of Buddhism, and in particular its relevance in actual human relations, was inspired by Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way Of Life, which the author translated into English, the oral instructions of living Buddhist masters, Heidegger’s classic Being and Time, and the writings of the Christian theologians Paul Tillich and John MacQuarrie. “The text is written with unusual clarity of style, making difficult matters readily accessible . . . It fills a serious gap in the dialogue between East and West, and does so in the most sensitive, most intelligent, and most careful way . . . Batchelor’s strategy—to use the Western disciplines in order to make Buddhism accessible to the Westerner—is, I think, highly successful. The book makes a fine introduction.” —David Michael Levin, Department of Philosophy, Northwestern University “Magnificent-inspiring! . . . This excellent book has come to me personally as an illuminating text, despite my close on sixty years’ concern with Buddhism . . . [Batchelor’s] approach is likely to appeal to many categories of readers who have hitherto never considered Buddhism as having great relevance to themselves.” —John Blofeld, from the Foreword
A renowned Buddhist teacher's magnum opus, based on his fresh reading of the tradition's earliest texts Some twenty-five centuries after the Buddha started teaching, his message continues to inspire people across the globe, including those living in predominantly secular societies. What does it mean to adapt religious practices to secular contexts? Stephen Batchelor, an internationally known author and teacher, is committed to a secularized version of the Buddha's teachings. The time has come, he feels, to articulate a coherent ethical, contemplative, and philosophical vision of Buddhism for our age. After Buddhism, the culmination of four decades of study and practice in the Tibetan, Zen, and Theravada traditions, is his attempt to set the record straight about who the Buddha was and what he was trying to teach. Combining critical readings of the earliest canonical texts with narrative accounts of five members of the Buddha's inner circle, Batchelor depicts the Buddha as a pragmatic ethicist rather than a dogmatic metaphysician. He envisions Buddhism as a constantly evolving culture of awakening whose long survival is due to its capacity to reinvent itself and interact creatively with each society it encounters. This original and provocative book presents a new framework for understanding the remarkable spread of Buddhism in today's globalized world. It also reminds us of what was so startling about the Buddha's vision of human flourishing.
Stephen Batchelor's seminal work on humanity's struggle between good and evil In the national bestseller Living with the Devil, Batchelor traces the trajectory from the words of the Buddha and Christ, through the writings of Shantideva, Milton, and Pascal, to the poetry of Baudelaire, the fiction of Kafka, and the findings of modern physics and evolutionary biology to examine who we really are, and to rest in the uncertainty that we may never know. Like his previous bestseller, Buddhism without Beliefs, Living with the Devil is also an introduction to Buddhism that encourages readers to nourish their "buddha nature" and make peace with the devils that haunt human life. He tells a poetic and provocative tale about living with life's contradictions that will challenge you to live your life as an existence imbued with purpose, freedom, and compassion—rather than habitual self-interest and fear.
An essential collection of Stephen Batchelor’s most probing and important work on secular Buddhism As the practice of mindfulness permeates mainstream Western culture, more and more people are engaging in a traditional form of Buddhist meditation. However, many of these people have little interest in the religious aspects of Buddhism, and the practice occurs within secular contexts such as hospitals, schools, and the workplace. Is it possible to recover from the Buddhist teachings a vision of human flourishing that is secular rather than religious without compromising the integrity of the tradition? Is there an ethical framework that can underpin and contextualize these practices in a rapidly changing world? In this collected volume of Stephen Batchelor’s writings on these themes, he explores the complex implications of Buddhism’s secularization. Ranging widely—from reincarnation, religious belief, and agnosticism to the role of the arts in Buddhist practice—he offers a detailed picture of contemporary Buddhism and its attempt to find a voice in the modern world.
The Buddhist view of the mind - how it works, how it goes wrong, how to put it right - is increasingly being recognised as profound and highly practical by scientists, counsellors and other professionals. In The Psychology of Awakening, this powerful vision of human nature, and its implications for personal and social life, are for the first time brought to a wider audience by some of those most influential in exploring its potential for the way we live today. These include: David Brazier Jon Kabat Zinn Francisco Varela Joy Manne Geshe Thubten Jinpa Mark Epstein Gay Watson Maura Sills Guy Claxton Stephen Batchelor Deeply relevant, accessible and authoritative, The Psychology of Awakening will be of interest to all those who wish to understand the workings of their minds a little better and who are also seeking new ways of mastering the challenges - personal, professional and cultural with which modern life confronts us all.
"Elegant and formally ingenious."--Geoff Wisner, Wall Street JournalIn a time of social distancing and isolation, a meditation on the beauty of solitude from renowned Buddhist writer Stephen Batchelor When world renowned Buddhist writer Stephen Batchelor turned sixty, he took a sabbatical from his teaching and turned his attention to solitude, a practice integral to the meditative traditions he has long studied and taught. He aimed to venture more deeply into solitude, discovering its full extent and depth. This beautiful literary collage documents his multifaceted explorations. Spending time in remote places, appreciating and making art, practicing meditation and participating in retreats, drinking peyote and ayahuasca, and training himself to keep an open, questioning mind have all contributed to Batchelor's ability to be simultaneously alone and at ease. Mixed in with his personal narrative are inspiring stories from solitude's devoted practitioners, from the Buddha to Montaigne, from Vermeer to Agnes Martin. In a hyperconnected world that is at the same time plagued by social isolation, this book shows how to enjoy the inescapable solitude that is at the heart of human life.
A national bestseller and acclaimed guide to Buddhism for beginners and practitioners alike 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 that is available to us all. The concepts and practices of Buddhism, says Batchelor, are not something to believe in but something to do—and as he explains clearly and compellingly, it is a practice that we can engage in, regardless of our background or beliefs, as we live every day on the path to spiritual enlightenment.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A DETAILED GUIDE TO DISCOVER BUDDHISM? THEN KEEP READING... What is Buddhism? Buddhism, which cannot be absolutely cataloged, can be confusing, especially if one comes from Christianity, the Jewish, or Muslim religions (not to mention other numerous doctrines). Indeed, we can find difficult new concepts of Buddhism such as karma, rebirth, or emptiness, and the practice of meditation. Above all this, the presentation of Buddhism through different traditions can vary more or less, so reading differing information can be a little confusing. That said, Buddhism can be briefly presented as a combination of philosophy, religion, lifestyle, psychology, and mental training. More precisely, it can be described as a true science of the mind. It is in any case, a multifaceted discipline to cover (a fully dedicated life would not be enough)! And as it has been over the years, the best method to inculcate the numerous teachings would be to hear the teachings of authentic masters - read a particular topic and meditate for a while before tackling another. Why? Simply because, unlike the academic approach, all matters have direct consequences for our own lives. The same way the study, reflection, and meditation are important, we also need to find out whether the teachings are right for us. Buddhism shouldn't be accepted based on convictions, but it should be accepted based on how it touches us in the depths of our being. Do not be impatient with the numerous questions that will inevitably come to mind. This is rather a good sign! This book covers the following topics: - Core Concept - What is Buddhism - The History - Teaching of Buddhism - Karma and Rebirth - Reincarnation - The practice of Buddhism - Mindfulness Meditation Techniques and Self-Healing Meditation - A Day in the Life of a Buddhist - The Four Noble Truths - Zen Buddhism ...And much more The starting point of the Buddhist faith is the so-called Four Noble Truths. First on the list of the truths is t
The power and simplicity of the Korean Zen tradition shine in this collection of teachings by a renowned modern master, translated by Martine Batchelor. Kusan Sunim provides a wealth of practical advice for students, particularly with regard to the uniquely Korean practice of hwadu, or sitting with questioning. An extensive introduction by Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism without Beliefs, provides both a biography of the author and a brief history of Korean Zen.
The understanding of the nature of reality is the insight upon which the Buddha was able to achieve his own enlightenment. This vision of the sublime is the source of all that is enigmatic and paradoxical about Buddhism. In Verses from the Center, Stephen Batchelor explores the history of this concept and provides readers with translations of the most important poems ever written on the subject, the poems of 2nd century philosopher Nagarjuna.
Talks given by Martine and Stephen Batchelor during a Sŏn (Chan/Zen) retreat in England in 2016. Leading us through the practice of radical questioning at the heart of this Korean Buddhist tradition, the authors show how anyone at all can benefit from this form of radical inquiry today.
Presents a serious inquiry into the moral, ethical, doctrinal, and transcendental considerations created by the intersection of Buddhism and psychedelics, presenting essays and interviews that explore altered states of consciousness and the potential for transformation.