From one of America's greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.
Robert Wright famously explained in The Moral Animal how evolution shaped the human brain. The mind is designed to often delude us, he argued, about ourselves and about the world. And it is designed to make happiness hard to sustain.
But if we know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, what do we do? Wright locates the answer in Buddhism, which figured out thousands of years ago what scientists are discovering only now. Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly - and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people.
In Why Buddhism Is True, Wright leads listeners on a journey through psychology, philosophy, and a great many silent retreats to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age. At once excitingly ambitious and wittily accessible, this is the first book to combine evolutionary psychology with cutting-edge neuroscience to defend the radical claims at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. With bracing honesty and fierce wisdom, it will persuade you not just that Buddhism is true - which is to say, a way out of our delusion - but that it can ultimately save us from ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
"I have been waiting all my life for a readable, lucid explanation of Buddhism by a tough-minded, skeptical intellect. Here it is. This is a scientific and spiritual voyage unlike any I have taken before." (Martin Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and best-selling author of Authentic Happiness)
"This is exactly the book that so many of us are looking for. Writing with his characteristic wit, brilliance, and tenderhearted skepticism, Robert Wright tells us everything we need to know about the science, practice, and power of Buddhism." (Susan Cain, best-selling author of Quiet)
"Robert Wright brings his sharp wit and love of analysis to good purpose, making a compelling case for the nuts and bolts of how meditation actually works. This book will be useful for all of us, from experienced meditators to hardened skeptics who are wondering what all the fuss is about." (Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and best-selling author of Real Happiness)
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An Accessible Bridge To Buddhist Liberation
Really thoughtful rendering of break throughs in the process of acquiring various forms of attachment, relinquishing that attachment even fractionally, and how that affects consciousness.
Not really compareable to other books I've read because mine are mostly Buddhist masters or near-masters. "Why" is one of the best intros I've seen.
First breakthrough. Mine occurred 3 days into a 5 day retreat in 1990. His 5 days into a 7 day retreat in 2003. We both seemed to bottom out, then experienced the nuclear blast of that first tiny bit of release of attachment... it wasn't enlightenment but it was being literally FILLED with LIGHT.
One of the hardest things to do is render mindfulness meditation so that a non-meditator can get a glimpse of liberation. Wright uses descriptions that seem accessible to a broad Western audience.
Coming from a 27 year practice, many retreats including two 30-day silent retreats, my assessment of this book may be overly optimistic. I can verify everything i heard.
- B. Hynum
Clear Explanation of How the Mind Works