Living with the devil: a meditation on good and evil
Living with the Devil is Stephen Batchelor's work on humankind's greatest struggle - to become good. Batchelor traces the trajectory - from the words of the Buddha and Christ, through the writings at Shantideva, Milton, and Pascal, to the poetry of Baudelaire and the fiction of Kafka - of impediments that keep us from doing what's in our own and others' best interests. He shows us the myriad forms those obstacles take: a wandering farmer, a caring friend, a devout religious believer, a powerful king, even a frustrated old man who doodles in the sand when he cannot snare the Buddha. The devil need not appear with horns and a forked tail: he stands for everything that paralyzes our innate wisdom, freedom, and empathy, thus blocking our paths in life. In a world of black and white, Batchelor paints in shades of gray, illustrating what it means to live in an ambiguous and precarious environment that continually tempts us from what we hold to be good.
Drawing on classic religious texts from East and West, as well as the findings of modern physics and evolutionary biology, Batchelor asks us to examine who we really are, and to rest in the uncertainty that we may never know.
Living with the Devil tells a tale that weaves its way among philosophy, religion, and science, and psychology, history, and myth. This is a book that will challenge your attitudes, your beliefs, the very way you live your life.
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Review: Living with the DevilUser Review - Steve Woods - Goodreads
When we begin the journey along the Path that is opened to us by the Buddha's teaching, it seems that for many there is a period of heady realization and a sense of having found the Way. While that ... Read full review
Review: Living with the DevilUser Review - Frank Jude - Goodreads
I enjoyed this book when I first read it ten years ago, and just this month, re-reading it with my sangha's book club, I found some chapters so good I could have underlined almost every line. The ... Read full review
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