Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening

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Riverhead Books, 1997 - Religion - 127 pages
133 Reviews
In "Buddhism Without Beliefs," author Stephen Batchelor reminds us that the Buddha was not a mystic. His awakening was not a shattering insight into a transcendent truth that revealed to him the mysteries of God, and he did not claim to have had an experience that granted him privileged, esoteric knowledge of how the universe ticks. What the Buddha taught, says Batchelor, is not something to believe in but something to do. He challenged people to understand the nature of anguish, let go of its origins, realize its cessation, and bring into being a way of life. This way of life is available to all of us, and Batchelor explains clearly and compellingly how we can practice it and live it every day. Each chapter of Batchelor's book examines how to work toward awakening realistically, with the understanding that embarking on this path does not mean never deviating from it.

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Lots of new insight for me. - Goodreads
The prose just isn't readable to me. - Goodreads
Very useful insights into anguish and compassion. - Goodreads
... prose ...style passages I could have done without. - Goodreads
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The central thesis of this book is that the Buddha's teachings were a path that anyone can follow through experiential practice, and that the dogma (metaphysics: karma, reincarnation, cosmology) that exists in modern Buddhism is an unnecessary and rigid accretion that formed as Buddhist philosophy found a home in various cultures.
Batchelor seeks to describe the main aspects of Buddhist philosophy, from aversion and craving to dharma, without recourse to any such metaphysics. It is an interesting enough read. At times it seems to meander, but that's inherent in the subject matter: trying to describe in words something that needs to be experienced is not straightforward, and Batchelor does a good job without being overly verbose.

Review: Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening

User Review  - Dave Peticolas - Goodreads

A great introduction to Buddhism without the mystical baggage of reincarnation or Zen "nothingness". I've read a few other books on Buddhism and Taoism, but this is my favorite. Read full review



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About the author (1997)

A former Buddhist monk, Stephen Batchelor has written several books attempting to make Buddhist accessible and understandable to the Western reader. These books include The Awakening of the West: The Encounter of Buddhist and Western Culture, and Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening.

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