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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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelli B
  • Eugene, OREGON, United States
  • 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Good Content, difficult to listen to

What disappointed you about Buddhism Without Beliefs?

Rich content, very hard to listen to. Not a captivating speaker for this listener. I found myself repeating sections again and again trying to remain focused. Ironic, given the subject matter. I'll buy the hard copy book because from what I have gleaned suggests the content would be a very interesting read.

How could the performance have been better?

Crank up the treble, reduce the bass sound, pick up the pace and add some inflection. The monotonic voice becomes monotonous. (sorry, no offense intended)

Any additional comments?

Can I get a refund?

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Buddhism an Atheist can believe in

If you are open minded but not superstitions check this out.
Bachelor makes it possible to think about Buddhism without the religious requirements usually imposed on it. I recommend it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Interesting Investigation but not a beginners guide

I bought this book thinking it would be a good introduction to Buddhism for someone who didn't see it as a religion. Instead, this book is a philosophical deconstruction that, as someone new to the philosophy, was difficult to follow. Also, the author's voice was hard to focus on due to his calm, slow delivery. While I wouldn't recommend it if you're a beginner like me, this is probably a useful read for someone who already has some knowledge of Buddhist terminology and philosophy.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great text and reflection

Love it! How Buddhism will be interwingled with our Western Culture as it did with taoish-China and Bön-Tibet sime centuries ago.

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Outstanding concept, superbly written but the read

Would you recommend Buddhism Without Beliefs to your friends? Why or why not?

Better to get a printed copy.

What didn’t you like about Stephen Batchelor’s performance?

Dreadful... do not listen to this book while driving, you may fall asleep!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • A. M. Koch
  • 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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  • Marek
  • 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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  • Steve
  • 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 .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful