From the Publisher
Praise for Buddhism Without Beliefs:
"Batchelor...suggests that Buddhism jettison reincarnation and karma, thereby making possible what he calls an 'existential, therapeutic and liberating agnosticism." Time
Praise for Confession of a Buddhist Atheist:
"While Batchelor may exaggerate the novelty of his Buddhism without beliefs stance, this multifaceted account of one Buddhist's search for enlightenment is richly absorbing." Publishers Weekly
Praise for Living With the Devil:
“A moving and timely study of the problem of evil from a Buddhist perspective. [Batchelor] 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
Rejecting this violence and its dualities, Batchelor suggests, will leave us free for true awareness
highly illuminating.” Library Journal
This is a spiritual autobiography and meditative journal of the author's three-year stay in a Korean Zen monastery. What makes the account even more interesting is that this Englishman had previously had eight years of training in Tibetan Buddhism and was an ordained monk who then came, as a result of a retreat in the Burmese meditation tradition, to doubt the Tibetan claims. Batchelor's experiences of mindfulness and of mystical illumination become the basis for doubt, for questioning, and for reflection on Buddhist text and traditional teachings, as well as on technique, on cultural forms, and on self. While a personal account, this book also contains real scholarship: those studying Buddhism academically as well as personally will find it of interest.
Read an Excerpt
Doubt is central to the spiritual crisis many people find themselves in today. The beliefs of traditional religion having been undermined, it is often doubt we experience as the core of our spiritual awareness. Such doubt is not merely uncertainty about the claims of a particular spiritual tradition, but doubt about what is the meaning of our existence in this world. IT is precisely this kind of doubt that Zen takes up and channels towards awakening. Just as in India and Tibet desire and other kleshas were transformed into the path, so in Zen doubt is transformed into the path. The energetic power of what is conventionally conceived as an obstacle, a defilement or delusion, is thus used as a vehicle for freedom and illumination.
The Zen tradition often speaks of three factors that need to be cultivated along the path: great faith, great doubt, and great courage. Thus faith and doubt are brought together. Clearly, doubt in this context does not refer to the kind of wavering indecision in which we get stuck, preventing any positive movement. It means to keep alive the perplexity at the heart of our life, to acknowledge the fundamentally we do no know what is going on, to question whatever arises within us. The acceptance of such doubt as basic to Buddhist practice qualifies the meaning of faith. Faith is not the equivalent to mere belief. Faith is the condition of ultimate confidence that we have the capacity to follow the path of doubt to its end. And courage: courage is the strength needed to be true to ourselves under all conditions, to cast aside the obstacles that are constantly thrown our way.