Living with the Devil: A Buddhist Meditation on Good and Evil

Overview

A bestselling Buddhist philosopher offers a personal meditation of extraordinary insight.

Whether we are religious or not, the Devil-evil incarnate-is a concept that can still strike fear in our hearts. What if he does exist? What if he is causing all our problems in his determination to keep us from reaching our full potential?

Stephen Batchelor takes the concept of the ...
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Overview

A bestselling Buddhist philosopher offers a personal meditation of extraordinary insight.

Whether we are religious or not, the Devil-evil incarnate-is a concept that can still strike fear in our hearts. What if he does exist? What if he is causing all our problems in his determination to keep us from reaching our full potential?

Stephen Batchelor takes the concept of the Devil out of literature and history and brings him to life in his many forms and guises: the flatterer, the playmate, the caring friend, the stranger who offers rest and solace, the person who knows you best and shows you your greatness in the world. And, most of all, as the great obstructer that blocks all paths to goodness and true humility.

For the first time, Batchelor fuses Western literature-Milton, Keats, Baudelaire-with Buddhism and the Judeo-Christian traditions in a poetic exploration of the struggle with the concept and reality of evil. Living with the Devil reveals the voice of a new poet and philosopher for our times.

Author Biography: Stephen Batchelor is a former monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions. He has translated and written several books on Buddhism, including Shantideva's A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, Alone with Others, The Faith to Doubt, The Tibet Guide (winner of the 1988 Thomas Cook Award), and The Awakening of the West (joint winner of the 1994 Tricycle Award).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author of Buddhism Without Beliefs and a former monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions, Batchelor works to reconcile the fears, desires, and compulsions of the ego (the devil or Mara) with the certainty of death. Drawing on a rich variety of literature, religious tradition and history, Batchelor demonstrates how the anguish associated with the transient nature of life has preoccupied humans for centuries: Job wrestles with his fate; Pascal's writings reflect his dread at being expelled from the universe when his existence would eventually come to a close. Surveying responses to this intractable problem, Batchelor concludes that mankind has always relied on the temptations of the devil to still anxiety and create an aura of permanence. Compulsive activities, lustful behavior and behaving violently and destructively to others are all evils that stem from Mara. Overcoming these feelings and pursuing the way of love and compassion, for Batchelor, rests on one's ability to make peace with the devil and nourish one's "Buddha nature." Although he explores a number of philosophies, Batchelor's focus is on the path to nirvana (a cessation of desires) forged by Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince and the historical Buddha, whose life and thinking are presented in some detail. Some of the references will be obscure to neophytes, but Batchelor's genuine concern and desire for a better world come through clearly. Agent, Anne Edelstein of Anne Edelstein Literary Agency. (June 7) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Batchelor (Buddhism Without Beliefs) has written a moving and timely study of the problem of evil from a Buddhist perspective. He draws deeply on traditional Buddhist insights as well as stories from the legends surrounding the Buddha's life to suggest that our need to divide experience into good and evil is itself the problem. In fact, dualism is one aspect of our illusions about the world that the Buddha sought to dispel. "The devil is incarnate today," Batchelor writes, "as the structural violence that pervades and ruptures the interconnected world." Rejecting this violence and its dualities, Batchelor suggests, will leave us free for true awareness. A highly illuminating book; recommended for all collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573222761
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/3/2004
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Parallel mythologies 3
2 This need not have happened 12
3 Mara - the killer 17
4 Satan - the adversary 29
5 Boredom and violence 39
6 Fear and trembling 51
7 The Devil's circle 59
8 A devil in the way 64
9 An empty space 69
10 From home to homelessness 76
11 What is this thing? 82
12 The riddle of the world 87
13 On being conscious 94
14 This body is breathing 103
15 Learning to wait 112
16 An ordinary person's life 121
17 "Do not hurt me" 128
18 The anguish of others 135
19 Incarnation 142
20 A culture of awakening 151
21 The kingdom of Mara 161
22 Hearing the cries 170
23 The anarchy of the gaps 180
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