29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil (Hardcover)
I ordered this book because I have been a student of both Eastern and Western views on Good and Evil, both in practical and philosophical terms. I gave the book four stars because I don't think Batchelor goes deeply enough into "the Devil" in the title. The Problem of Evil is an idea that plagues every society, and there is not much written about it from a Buddhist perspective.
Don't get me wrong; he has a helpful (especially because non-theistic) hypothesis. He has made a contribution to the thinking on this vast topic.
The best thing about this book is the prose. As always, Batchelor writes poetically, almost lyrically. It is a pleasure to read. Some might find it a book to be savored, and lingered over, and some might find, as I did, that it can be read and enjoyed in brief snatches.
Batchelor does a wonderful job of putting Buddhist thought into understandable language, and of making the ancient texts relevant to modern experience. For practitioners of Buddhism, like myself, this book can enhance one's understanding of any number of elements of Buddhism (e.g., meditation on the breath, having a body, human relationships, the idea of engaged Buddhism). I would imagine that for non-Buddhists, besides being exposed to a clear exposition on basic Buddhist philosophy, this book demonstrates how Western and Buddhist thinkers concur on the problem of evil in important ways.