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.
©1997 Stephen Batchelor (P)2013 Sounds True
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Stephen Batchelors guide is truly educational. I found his breakdown of Buddhism to be so simple and inspiring. I was concerned that Buddhism would be a complicated thing to understand. Immediately my mind was put to rest as Stephen speaks with authority and expertise. Buddhism as a belief system (it is not a religion for those who may not know) is all that I hoped it would be. I've listened through twice and plan on sharing it with other interested parties. So if you too may be wondering what this thing called Buddhism is all about but are afraid it's too complex, I highly recommend Buddhism Without Beliefs.
Linguist, translator, addicted to Audible.
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.
Steven Lurie, Ph.D.
Cuts through it all and helps reader make sense of teachings and practice just about better than anything I have read so far.
I have numerous of buddies teaching audio books and this one is one of the best and Stephen Batchelor's voice is very pleasant/easy listen to. It's also as a wonderful gift to families and friends too.
Commuter....moving from boring radio to feeding the brain.
I feel the author did a good job touching on a lot of core pieces of the Buddhist philosophy, evolution and modern day application.
I had to quit after chapter 3. This audio book was very hard for me to enjoy or understand for two main reasons: One, It is very poorly organized, the chapters are all over the place, the author/narrator jumps from techniques to explanations of concepts to stories and nothing ends up making sense, he needs to structure the content better. The second issue I had was with the narrator's flat tone of voice, he tries to come of as calm and profound but all that delivery did was bore me and literally put me to sleep. I'm so sad this was my first attempt at understanding Buddhism. I will keep looking.
I expected this would be the text of the book, presented in audio. This is something else. Not happy about the bait-and-switch. I'm sure the material is terrific, it's just not what was promoted, and not what I was looking for.
If I could I would give it zero stars!! Think of sitting at church with a long, long boring sermon that says absolutely nothing at all. The voice is so dull and soft and I made myself listen to two chapters and it was so painful!!!
"Listen without prejudice"
Although rooted in a tradition, a large Tibetan organisation, this is music for my heart. I feel deeply Batchelor's frustration at modern attempts to integrate Buddhist thought into the Western umvelt.
William Gibson once remarked that "the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed" - this is how I feel about modern dharma, some people (Ken Wilber et al) are shaping forward looking, truly modern, post-metaphysical, non-religious (non-'Buddhist') dharma.
To many this is just too much. The baby boomers who have found solace in Eastern mysticism and religion have kept the baby but they are often very reluctant to admit that they are swimming in a large pool of unnecessary Buddhist bathwater too.
Bachelor strips it all back and his movement towards finding the essence of Early Buddhism, the universalism of impermanence, the truths of suffering and emptiness, that which continues to serve us today, is very welcome and, I believe, destined to emerge and shape dharma from here on out.
"Confused this is different to the book"
I am enjoying this and it is well presented by Stephen. It is an excellent proposition of Buddhist ideas without the religion that has overtaken much of modern Buddhism. However I also have the book and this seems to have little connection to that except for the ideas presented. As it has the same title I expected it to be an audio reading of the book.
"Very clear and inspiring. Will listen again"
I like that he breaks down some of the main Buddhist ideas in a modern way. He also has a soothing voice.
"A more intellectual view on Buddhism"
Finally a book on Buddhism that has no airy fairy parts to it. With respect to those other books, they are useful and a lot of people prefer them, but I feel like they don't get some of the points across as well and can be quite repetitive.
At first I found the authors talking was annoying as he pauses quite often, making it hard for me to piece the sentences together. Eventually i got used to it. I found the first couple of chapters a bit unenlightening but they probably would be good for a complete beginner. But from chapter 3 onwards it gets very good, opening up all sorts of perspectives. I'm sure I will turn to this audiobook several times.
Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who had an interest in the concepts of Buddhism from a modern perspective. Don't expect a "how to" guide, it's more of a reflective book. Enjoy.
A great listen. very thought provoking and easily relatable. Really enjoyed this take on Buddhism
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