Before it was a religion, a culture, or even a system of meditation, what was Buddhism? On Buddhism Without Beliefs, celebrated teacher, translator, and former Buddhist monk Stephen Batchelor takes us back to the first years after the Buddha's awakening to reveal the root insights of Buddhism hidden beneath centuries of history and interpretation.
In eight compelling sessions of self-inquiry - including many fascinating exercises and practices - we learn how to awaken and refine our senses, introduce the essential spirit of curiosity into the practice of awareness, and comprehend with both our hearts and our minds the Buddha's astonishing (and often misunderstood) revelations on emptiness, compassion, and the self. Before he died, the Buddha did not appoint a successor. He simply remarked that each of us must be responsible for our own freedom.
Buddhism without Beliefs is an invitation to hear what the Buddha taught - and to trust yourself on your own path to liberation.
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What you wondered about but were afraid to ask ...
I am not a buddhist, even though I'm interested in buddhist "themes": impermanence, emptiness, mindfulness, loving kindness, death and dying, etc. I've read a number of authors of many different traditions (Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, etc.), and Stephen Batchelor was the only one I felt wasn't speaking in riddles or trying to convey a sense of mystery that I never felt was necessary. And here I don't mean, for instance, Zen koans or Zen stories - I mean the convoluted and pasteurized speech of some Western buddhist teachers.
As an atheist, this is as close as I'll ever get to a real experience of spirituality. Wonderful book.