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Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening Paperback – March 1, 1998
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As in all the major religions, there is a wisdom behind the theology of Buddhism that informs the believer in daily life. Stephen Batchelor would argue that the difference with Buddhism is that the wisdom is in fact independent of the theology and is not informative to believers only, but to everyone. In Buddhism Without Beliefs Batchelor lays out the major tenets of Buddhist wisdom, commenting on their relevance to modern life. The Buddha said that seekers must find the Truth for themselves, and Batchelor offers this book as a roadmap. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Batchelor...suggests that Buddhism jettison reincarnation and karma, thereby making possible what he calls an 'existential, therapeutic and liberating agnosticism." —Time magazine
"Buddhism Without Beliefs is the kind of finely written primer about the concepts of Buddhism that even a heathen like me can appreciate and understand. For the non-Buddhist, or the aspiring Buddhist, it will be of much assistance. Filled with compassion, lucidly written, this is a book that explains much about an ancient, ever-living philosophy that has much to offer the stunned searchers of truth in our chaotic age of modernity." —Oscar Hijuelos, author of Mr. Ives' Christmas and The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
"Radiant in its clarity, Buddhism Without Beliefs reminds us not just of Buddhism's true nature, but of our own as well. Freeing us from the notion of Buddhism as a religion, Stephen Batchelor shows us how necessary the Buddha's teachings are in today's world. It may not be what he intended, but he has made a believer out of me." —Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective
"Though he is a former monk in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions, Batchelor is now associated with a nondenominational Buddhist community in England. He deliberately eschews elitist, monastic Buddhist traditions, which often make enlightenment appear all but impossible to attain. Throughout, simple meditation exercises acquaint readers with Buddhist principles that illuminate 'the nature of the human dilemma and a way to its resolution.'" —Publishers Weekly
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"An agnostic Buddhist eschews atheism as much as theism, and is as reluctant to regard the universe as devoid of meaning as endowed with meaning. For to deny either God or meaning is simply the antithesis of affirming them. Yet such an agnostic stance is not based on disinterest. It is founded on a passionate recognition that 'I do not know'. It confronts the enormity of having been born instead of reaching for the consolation of a belief. It strips away, layer by layer, the views that conceal the mystery of being here - either by affirming it as something or denying it as nothing."
An exemplary 5 stars!!!
This book is not an introduction to Buddhism, a Buddhism 101. If you're looking for an overview of the beliefs and practices of Buddhists, there are many more appropriate texts available. My personal recommendation would be Lama Surya Das' Awakening the Buddha Within : Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World. In contrast, the book under discussion is a provocative attempt to reinterpret and (re)introduce the core of the Buddhist teachings to the west, in a form easily understood and assimilated by the western student. Just as Christ wasn't a Christian, the Buddha Sakayamuni was not a Buddhist: he was a teacher, a spritual friend. His teachings have been filtered through thousands of years of history an individual cultural circumstances. This is one more take. The book resonates strongly with me. Perhaps it will with you, too.