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Buddhism without Beliefs


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Batchelor's latest concise volume explores the practical fundamentals of Buddhism and how they can be relevant to both religious and secular-minded Westerners. Batchelor makes several controversial, but thoughtfully argued, points central to his "existential, therapeutic" and agnostic interpretation of Buddhism: that Buddhism is not strictly a religion, since it does not adhere to a belief in God; that the Buddha did not consider himself a mystic or savior, but a healer; and that Buddhismis less a "belief system" than a personal "course of action" that naturally instills morality, compassion and inner peace in the practitioner. Though he is a former monk in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions, Batchelor is now associated with a nondenominational Buddhist community in England. He deliberately eschews elitist, monastic Buddhist traditions, which often make enlightenment appear all but impossible to attain. Throughout, simple meditation exercises acquaint readers with Buddhist principles that illuminate "the nature of the human dilemma and a way to its resolution." (Apr.)

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