Buddhism without Beliefs

Buddhism without Beliefs

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by Stephen Batchelor
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
[A]n intelligent and eloquent attempt to...define the parameters for a style of "dharma practice" appropriate to the new situation....In my viewwhat we require is a clear articulation of the essential principles taught by the Buddha himself in all their breadth and profundity.The challenge...is to express these principles in a living language that addresses the deep crises of our time. —Journal of Buddhist Ethics
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Batchelor's latest concise volume explores the practical fundamentals of Buddhism and how they can be relevant to both religious and secular-minded Westerners. Batchelor makes several controversial, but thoughtfully argued, points central to his "existential, therapeutic" and agnostic interpretation of Buddhism: that Buddhism is not strictly a religion, since it does not adhere to a belief in God; that the Buddha did not consider himself a mystic or savior, but a healer; and that Buddhismis less a "belief system" than a personal "course of action" that naturally instills morality, compassion and inner peace in the practitioner. 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."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573226561
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
84,585
Product dimensions:
5.47(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"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

Oscar Hijuelos
Filled with compassion, lucidly written.

Meet the Author

Stephen Batchelor is a former monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions and the author of the national bestseller Buddhism Without Beliefs. He lectures and conducts meditation retreats worldwide, and is a contributing editor for Tricycle.

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Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely excellent book! I highly recommend it to anyone trying to reconcile the conflict of religion versus common sense. I have always been Agnostic and therefore too hesitant to extensively investigate the teachings of Buddha. This book changes everything, both honestly and consisely.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book will open your mind and heart to live life your way and not the way that we have been told to live by society. This book can be read over and over and everytime it will open you mind and heart to new ways of looking and living life, day-to-day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As in all the major religions, there is a wisdom behind the theology of Buddhism that informs the believer in daily life. This book 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.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The author makes a clear argument for a 'non' mystic form of Buddhism. His arguments are rational however somthing within me just can not give up a 'religous' Buddhist pratice. A balence between the Mystic and the Rational without favoring one over the other seems to me to be a better path.