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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 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.
A comprehensive, straightforward introduction to Buddhism simply explains how its practices can enrich lives, regardless of one's religious background. Reprint.
Buddhism Without Beliefs presents a new interpretation of Buddhism and proposes realistic, non-religious, Buddhist solutions to the existential anguish that most of us live in.
Does Buddhism require faith? Can an atheist or agnostic follow the Buddha’s teachings without believing in reincarnation or organized religion? This is one man’s confession. In his classic Buddhism Without Beliefs, Stephen Batchelor offered a profound, secular approach to the teachings of the Buddha that struck an emotional chord with Western readers. Now, with the same brilliance and boldness of thought, he paints a groundbreaking portrait of the historical Buddha—told from the author’s unique perspective as a former Buddhist monk and modern seeker. Drawing from the original Pali Canon, the seminal collection of Buddhist discourses compiled after the Buddha’s death by his followers, Batchelor shows us the Buddha as a flesh-and-blood man who looked at life in a radically new way. Batchelor also reveals the everyday challenges and doubts of his own devotional journey—from meeting the Dalai Lama in India, to training as a Zen monk in Korea, to finding his path as a lay teacher of Buddhism living in France. Both controversial and deeply personal, Stephen Batchelor’s refreshingly doctrine-free, life-informed account is essential reading for anyone interested in Buddhism.
Kierkegaard said that faith without doubt is simply credulity, the will to believe too readily, especially without adequate evidence, and that “in Doubt can Faith begin.” All people involved in spiritual practice, of whatever persuasion, must confront doubt at one time or another, and find a way beyond it to belief, however temporary. But “faith is not 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.” In this engaging spiritual memoir, Stephen Batchelor describes his own training, first as a Tibetan Buddhist and then as a Zen practitioner, and his own direct struggles along his path. “It is most uncanny that we are able to ask questions, for to question means to acknowledge that we do not know something. But it is more than an acknowledgement: it includes a yearning to confront an unknown and illuminate it through understanding. Questioning is a quest.” Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. Buddhism has survived for the past 2,500 years because of its capacity to reinvent itself in accord with the needs of the different Asian societies with which it has creatively interacted throughout its history. As Buddhism encounters modernity, it enters a vital new phase of its development. Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism's role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer.
"The Awakening of the West" is an insightful and elegantly written history chronicling the developing relationship between Buddhism and Western culture. As anyone familiar with the work of Stephen Batchelor (best-selling author of Buddhism Without Beliefs) would expect, "The Awakening of the West" is presented in a fresh and lively way and backed by thorough research. Using the innovative approach of starting with the present and working back in time, Batchelor makes it easy to connect familiar contemporary Buddhist teachers to their historical roots. He breathes life into history by capturing the personalities and times of famous and lesser-known but important Buddhist figures. After absorbing these stories and their context, readers will not only have a greater appreciation of Buddhism as a religion but can gain insights that can help them develop their own discerning wisdom. "The Awakening of the West" is a unique, engaging and important book for anyone seeking a greater understanding of Buddhism.
The Buddhist view of the mind - how it works, how it goes wrong, how to put it right - is increasingly being recognised as profound and highly practical by scientists, counsellors and other professionals. In The Psychology of Awakening, this powerful vision of human nature, and its implications for personal and social life, are for the first time brought to a wider audience by some of those most influential in exploring its potential for the way we live today. These include: David Brazier Jon Kabat Zinn Francisco Varela Joy Manne Geshe Thubten Jinpa Mark Epstein Gay Watson Maura Sills Guy Claxton Stephen Batchelor Deeply relevant, accessible and authoritative, The Psychology of Awakening will be of interest to all those who wish to understand the workings of their minds a little better and who are also seeking new ways of mastering the challenges - personal, professional and cultural with which modern life confronts us all.

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