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.
buddhism without beliefs
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What kind of person should I strive to be? What ideals should I pursue in my life? These basic human questions and others like them are components of the overall question that guides this book: What is enlightenment? As Dale Wright argues, any serious practitioner of human life, religious or not, confronts the challenge of living an authentic life, of overcoming common human disabilities like greed, hatred, and delusion that give rise to excessive suffering. Why then, Wright asks, is this essential question often avoided, even discouraged among Buddhists? One reason frequently cited by Buddhists is that pondering a distant goal might be a waste of energy that would be better applied to practice: Quiet the flow of obsessive thinking, put yourself in a mindful state of presence, and let enlightenment take care of itself. In this book, however, Wright contends that pondering this question is meditative practice--that attentive inquiry of this kind is essential as the starting point and guide for any mindful practice of life. Meditative reflection on the meaning of enlightenment focuses us on our aim and direction in life. It guides us in shaping our practices, our ideals, and the kinds of lives we will live. Asking what enlightenment is as a basic form of meditation helps to activate our lives and get transformative practice underway. From Wright's perspective, there is no more important question to ask than this one. What is Buddhist Enlightenment? offers a wide-ranging exploration of issues that have a bearing on the contemporary meaning of enlightenment, including a concluding section with 10 theses that answer the title's question. Written by a leading scholar of Buddhism, the book balances deep learning and an accessible style, offering valuable insights for students, scholars, and practitioners alike. While he takes an examination of what enlightenment has been in past Buddhist traditions as his point of departure, Wright's historical considerations yield to the question that our lives press upon us-what kinds of lives should we aspire to live here, now, and into the future?
This new Pariyatti Edition brings together eight essays of Bhikkhu Bodhi, five of which were earlier published in academic journals and volumes, and three not published before. Most of the essays are critical responses to various modern interpretations of the Dhamma that the author considers to be at odds with the Buddha’s teachings, in particular as transmitted and interpreted by the Theravāda school of Buddhism. The other essays are in depth discussions of important Buddhist doctrinal terms.
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.
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.
Over the past half century in America, Buddhism has grown from a transplanted philosophy to a full-fledged religious movement, rich in its own practices, leaders, adherents, and institutions. Long favored as an essential guide to this history, Buddhism in America covers the three major groups that shape the tradition—an emerging Asian immigrant population, native-born converts, and old-line Asian American Buddhists—and their distinct, yet spiritually connected efforts to remake Buddhism in a Western context. This edition updates existing text and adds three new essays on contemporary developments in American Buddhism, particularly the aging of the baby boom population and its effect on American Buddhism's modern character. New material includes revised information on the full range of communities profiled in the first edition; an added study of a second generation of young, Euro-American leaders and teachers; an accessible look at the increasing importance of meditation and neurobiological research; and a provocative consideration of the mindfulness movement in American culture. The volume maintains its detailed account of South and East Asian influences on American Buddhist practices, as well as instances of interreligious dialogue, socially activist Buddhism, and complex gender roles within the community. Introductory chapters describe Buddhism's arrival in America with the nineteenth-century transcendentalists and rapid spread with the Beat poets of the 1950s. The volume now concludes with a frank assessment of the challenges and prospects of American Buddhism in the twenty-first century.
The number of Buddhists in Australia has grown dramatically in recent years. In 2006, Buddhists accounted for 2.1 per cent of Australia's population, almost doubling the 1996 figures, and making it the fastest growing religion in the country. This book analyses the arrival and localisation of Buddhism in Australia in the context of the globalisation of Buddhism. Australia's close geographical proximity to Asia has encouraged an intense flow of people, ideas, practices and commodities from its neighbouring countries, while at the same time allowing the development of the religion to be somewhat different to its growth in other Western countries. The book seeks to explore the Buddhist experience in Australia, looking at the similarities and particularities of this experience in relation to other Western countries. The inception of Buddhism in Australia is investigated, and a voice is provided to people on the ground who have been fundamental in making this process possible. For the first time, academic analysis and practitioners' experience are juxtaposed to show the adaptations and challenges of Buddhism in Australia from above and below. This book is a unique and valuable contribution to the study of Buddhism in the West, globalization of religion, and studies in Asian Religion.
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.
This is a book for anyone who wants to live “the good life,” but who has not yet found a clear path to that goal. By examining the common threads that unite three, great spiritual traditions--Judaism, Buddhism, and Stoicism--the author provides a framework for achieving a fulfilled and ethically responsible life. The author helps the reader take the spiritual “nutrients” from these three ancient traditions and transform them into a life of beauty, order, and purpose. No scholarly expertise or special knowledge of religion is required to understand this book, nor need the reader believe in a “supreme being” or owe allegiance to a particular religion. All that's needed is an open mind and a sincere desire to create an awakened and flourishing life.
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.