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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"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.
"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.
"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.
"Good Content, difficult to listen to"
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.
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)
Can I get a refund?
"Outstanding concept, superbly written but the read"
Better to get a printed copy.
Dreadful... do not listen to this book while driving, you may fall asleep!
"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.
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