Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil

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Riverhead Books, 2004 - Philosophy - 224 pages
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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User Review  - johnverdon - LibraryThing

Batchelor - is the master of secular Buddhist analysis and the teachings of Buddha. In this book he explores the capacity to encounter and work with the Shadow. Highly recommend. Read full review

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User Review  - JamesBlake - LibraryThing

Begins with thoughts on Mara, the satanic figure found in the early Buddhist texts, and moves on to explore more topics than it's easy to summarise. As ever, Stephen is original and inspiring and writes the most stylish prose of any living Buddhist. Read full review


Parallel Mythologies
From Home to Homelessness
What Is This Thing?

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About the author (2004)

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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