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Publisher's Summary

Demystifing the tenets of Buddhism, this introduction to the Buddhist religion explains, without jargon or obscure terminology, the essential elements of its teachings, presents ways to work toward awakening, and examines Buddhism's relevance in Western culture.
©1997 The Buddhist Ray, Inc., and Stephen Batchelor (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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By Brian Northum on 04-20-16

Play it at 1.25x speed

This narration was slow but when I sped up to 1.25 speed it became one of my favorite audible books so far. The inflections and cadence and vocabulary of the writer/narrator were almost perfect then. This is a great explanation of the secular Buddhist ideas that have taken hold today.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

By Kelli B on 08-25-15

Good for a beginning secularist

Stephen Batchelor approaches the practice of dharma from a secular perspective. While eschewing outright atheism (at least in this book), he offers a contemplative tradition that even an atheist like me can undertake.

Buddhism often crops up as a religion -- despite the Buddha's attempts to thwart the worship of himself and nirvana. Over time, decentralized sanghas form communities with hierarchy, and the process of awakening is placed on a pedestal to be worshipped. The Buddha himself becomes godlike over time.

Batchelor says that not only is this an unnecessary addition to early Buddhism, but that it can be a hindrance to one's own awakening. He addresses the supernaturalist tendencies of followers and even the Buddha's own acceptance of polytheism in ancient India.

This is a fantastic listen.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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By A. M. Koch on 03-24-17

Great book, filled with insight

I found this book to be the kind of text I was looking for, given my atheistic leaning. Stephen tackles Buddhism in a scientific manner, without losing any of the reverence the subject deserves.

There are a number of passages in this book that helped my practice. Some obvious yet simple ideas that can be used to aid concentration, with pragmatic discussion of compassion as an integral part of anyone's practice.

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By Marek on 03-10-17

Your mind will be gently ripped open...

incredible account of what buddhism is. all the points are articulated well and explanations are succinct with a great flow and poetic liberty. if you have shy-ed away from spirituality because of the wishy-washy nature it is stereotyped to have, this book is for you. I'm on my 3rd read and just about to go again!!

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By Steve on 03-11-17

Nitty gritty, no frills Buddhism.

Buddhism for rational, sceptical people. It suits me well as I am a secularist and science/evidence oriented. We load our minds with knowledge but don't train ourselves how to BE in this world. We are filled with needs, attitudes and anxieties. Stephen Batchelor strips away the ritual and dogma that has encrusted itself around Buddhism and gives us the nitty gritty. I got a lot out of this audiobook and am going to listen to it again soon. A slightly more animated style of narration would improve the listenability .

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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