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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.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Beautiful from start to finish. So much to consider and contemplate when listening that I will be listening multiple times. I can’t recommend it enough.
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.
Played and replayed much of this book, to understand and master the concepts explained. Some might consider the narration a little flat, but it is calm and clear. If you truly want to understand Buddhism listen to this book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful