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Confession of a Buddhist Atheist Paperback – March 8, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
The first theme is expressed as a memoir. Batchelor tells us, with just enough detail to bring the story to vivid life without distracting us from its narrative course, how he journeyed from a childhood in provincial England, raised without religious indoctrination by a single mother, through a classic '60s-style road trip, with plenty of drugs, little money and no clear end in mind, Eastward through Afghanistan and Pakistan to Daramsala, where the young Dalai Lama had recently settled with his community of exiled Tibetans, and where Batchelor first encountered the Buddhist thinking that would inform his life. He learned Tibetan, ordained as a monk in the Dalai Lama's Gelug tradition, and discovered the first of a series of teachers who would, through the next 30 years, conspire, albeit unknowingly, to form the person who has emerged as Stephen Batchelor, a very different person than any of them sought to form, but a person whose goodness and honesty would compel their admiration, being themselves good and honest people.
In addition to Geshe Rabten, with whom Batchelor studied in India and later in Switzerland, those teachers included S.N.Read more ›
In the end, though, I didn't, because the book is so well-written and well-researched, and I have found myself thinking about it and discussing it frequently with people I know. I read and review a lot of books, many of them Buddhist, and few of them stay with me for this long. So that to me is a sign of a five-star book, whether I personally agree and relate to all the author's points or not.
My favorite parts of the book were his stories regarding his own experiences as a young Tibetan Buddhist monk, and then studying in Korea with a Zen teacher, while grappling with existential questions and increasingly exploring Western philosophy as well. What a profound seeker! As I said, my own personal experiences have led me to a more mystic orientation, and I kept feeling like the author's intellect was getting in his way. But that is not for me to say. In the end, I admired his integrity and dedication to seeking truth. It is rare that someone is willing to throw away everything they have known, all that has made them comfortable, over and over again as their searching brings them to new conclusions. And that is what Mr.Read more ›
There are no wormholes in this intricate and fluid field through which one can wriggle out, either to reach union with God or move on to another existence after death. This is a field in which one is challenged to act: it is your actions alone that define you. There is no point in praying for divine guidance or assistance. That, as Gotama told Vasettha, would be like someone who wishes to cross the Aciravati River by calling out to the far bank: "Come here, other bank, come here!" No amount of "calling, begging, requesting or wheedling" will have any effect at all."
I was first introduced to Mr. Batchelor through his book "Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening," which radically changed my perception of the religion. Mr. Batchelor continues to forge new ground with his newest release "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist."
The book is an exquisitely woven tapestry, threaded via a seamless combination of personal narrative, historical tracing, and dissection of canon. Mr. Batchelor doesn't simply deconstruct the milieu of Buddhist dogma (karma, reincarnation, et. al.), he presents how they are the antithesis of what Gotama intended, and how they are unnecessary (and often hindrances) in the application of his message.
Based on the title, in combination with the jacket blurb from Christopher Hitchens, one may be inclined to foresee the book as a complete disemembering of the Buddhist religion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting read. This was actually recommended by James Altucher (on one of his podcasts) so I was curious to read it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gadget Guru
The author puts words to the deepest intuition s of us humans. Thank you I recommend this book to all who practice or are curious about buddhismPublished 4 months ago by Judith
In a clear, concise, compelling manner Stephen Batchelor addresses several questions/ponderings I've had surrounding the Buddhist religion and religion in general. Read morePublished 5 months ago by TERRI SCHNEIDER
So many of the conclusions reached by the author are similar to my own. The journeys to those conclusions are not so similar but overlap in some ways. Read morePublished 5 months ago by No Middle Name
I think the author had a unique qualification to write a book detailing the story of Buddha and the evolution of Buddhism. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sandra Jane Todd
Interesting as a memoir, and thought-provoking as a version of traditional Buddhism available to those who are skeptical of reincarnation.Published 6 months ago by Russell A. Jacobs