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Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World Hardcover – February 21, 2017
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The title of this review is the criticism secular practitioners (like myself), and Mr. Batchelor, have heard time and time again - usually by some "monk" or mainstream Buddhist teacher whose livelihood is threatened by the ideas Mr. Bachelor has presented over the course of many years. Never fear, dear monks and teachers, you will always have those who are willing to provide for you. The gullible abound, and you shall be well fed.
Those new to Buddhism might want to start with Mr. Batchelor's earlier works (and website), and work their way to this. So, if you're looking to "jump right in" to the secular Buddhist path, and want to read from Mr. Batchelor's comprehensive works, visit his website, (or these titles: "Buddhism Without Beliefs", "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist", and "After Buddhism.") and get a taste of what he is going to provide in this book.
If you are a dedicated, devout "religious" Buddhist, one who has put his/her entire faith in the mystical nebulous concept of enlightenment and nirvana, then this book may not (most certainly will not) be for you. (That could be said for most of Mr. Batchelor's books). It is the Red Pill. It will open your mind to a view of Buddhism that has shed that mystical woo. It will shake the very core foundation of your beliefs such that you might finally gain some real peace. And who wants that? Who wants to believe that nirvana is available right this minute, in this very world? Sure, I'd rather seek an unreachable, impossible goal, with no hope of ever attaining it, too.
If you are familiar with the writings, essays, and talks of Stephen Batchelor, then this is another in a line of well written, thoughtful, and provocative works from the author. Most of this will be familiar to you. It is a mix of original material, as well as essays, articles, talks that you may already know of.
Four stars because of Four Tasks. It seems appropriate. Oh, and because, even though there was good stuff and some new material, it is really just a rehash of so much of what Mr. Batchelor has already written over they years that I felt that $12 (Kindle) was a bit steep for the book. But a man has to eat, and I'd rather give money to someone who speaks my "language", that someone peddling woo.