In this simple but important volume, Stephen Batchelor reminds us that the Buddha was not a mystic who claimed privileged, esoteric knowledge of the universe, but a man who challenged us to understand the nature of anguish, let go of its origins, and bring into being a way of life that is available to us all. The concepts and practices of Buddhism, says Batchelor, are not something to believe in but something to do—and as he explains clearly and compellingly, it is a practice that we can engage in, regardless of our background or beliefs, as we live every day on the path to spiritual enlightenment.
This is one man’s confession.
In his classic Buddhism Without Beliefs, Stephen Batchelor offered a profound, secular approach to the teachings of the Buddha that struck an emotional chord with Western readers. Now, with the same brilliance and boldness of thought, he paints a groundbreaking portrait of the historical Buddha—told from the author’s unique perspective as a former Buddhist monk and modern seeker. Drawing from the original Pali Canon, the seminal collection of Buddhist discourses compiled after the Buddha’s death by his followers, Batchelor shows us the Buddha as a flesh-and-blood man who looked at life in a radically new way. Batchelor also reveals the everyday challenges and doubts of his own devotional journey—from meeting the Dalai Lama in India, to training as a Zen monk in Korea, to finding his path as a lay teacher of Buddhism living in France. Both controversial and deeply personal, Stephen Batchelor’s refreshingly doctrine-free, life-informed account is essential reading for anyone interested in Buddhism.
Stephen Batchelor, an internationally known author and teacher, is committed to a secularized version of the Buddha’s teachings. The time has come, he feels, to articulate a coherent ethical, contemplative, and philosophical vision of Buddhism for our age. After Buddhism, the culmination of four decades of study and practice in the Tibetan, Zen, and Theravada traditions, is his attempt to set the record straight about who the Buddha was and what he was trying to teach. Combining critical readings of the earliest canonical texts with narrative accounts of five members of the Buddha’s inner circle, Batchelor depicts the Buddha as a pragmatic ethicist rather than a dogmatic metaphysician. He envisions Buddhism as a constantly evolving culture of awakening whose long survival is due to its capacity to reinvent itself and interact creatively with each society it encounters.
This original and provocative book presents a new framework for understanding the remarkable spread of Buddhism in today’s globalized world. It also reminds us of what was so startling about the Buddha’s vision of human flourishing.
As the practice of mindfulness permeates mainstream Western culture, more and more people are engaging in a traditional form of Buddhist meditation. However, many of these people have little interest in the religious aspects of Buddhism, and the practice occurs within secular contexts such as hospitals, schools, and the workplace. Is it possible to recover from the Buddhist teachings a vision of human flourishing that is secular rather than religious without compromising the integrity of the tradition? Is there an ethical framework that can underpin and contextualize these practices in a rapidly changing world?
In this collected volume of Stephen Batchelor’s writings on these themes, he explores the complex implications of Buddhism’s secularization. Ranging widely—from reincarnation, religious belief, and agnosticism to the role of the arts in Buddhist practice—he offers a detailed picture of contemporary Buddhism and its attempt to find a voice in the modern world.
In the national bestseller Living with the Devil, Batchelor traces the trajectory from the words of the Buddha and Christ, through the writings of Shantideva, Milton, and Pascal, to the poetry of Baudelaire, the fiction of Kafka, and the findings of modern physics and evolutionary biology to examine who we really are, and to rest in the uncertainty that we may never know. Like his previous bestseller, Buddhism without Beliefs, Living with the Devil is also an introduction to Buddhism that encourages readers to nourish their "buddha nature" and make peace with the devils that haunt human life. He tells a poetic and provocative tale about living with life's contradictions that will challenge you to live your life as an existence imbued with purpose, freedom, and compassion—rather than habitual self-interest and fear.
This entertaining guide introduces readers to the amazing worldof the Ancient Greeks. It offers a complete rundown of Greekhistory alongside fascinating insights into daily life in AncientGreece and a captivating overview of Greek mythology. Readers willdiscover how this ancient culture came to be the cornerstone ofWestern civilisation and the enormous influence it has had on ourlanguage, politics, education, philosophy, science, arts andsport.The history of Ancient Greece remains a wide topic of interest,particularly renowned for its influential and diverse cultureThis basic guide will allow greater access to this vibrant areaof study, and provide a distinct and light-hearted approach to thisvast area historyCovers dozens of topics, including; the early civilisations,war & fighting, home & family, day-to-day life andmuch, much more!
About the author
Steve Batchelor is a lecturer in Classics at RichmondCollege and has been teaching ancient history for 10 years. He haswritten reviews for various publications, including HistoryToday, and he has also been involved in running guidedhistorical tours of Greece.
In this engaging spiritual memoir, Stephen Batchelor describes his own training, first as a Tibetan Buddhist and then as a Zen practitioner, and his own direct struggles along his path. “It is most uncanny that we are able to ask questions, for to question means to acknowledge that we do not know something. But it is more than an acknowledgement: it includes a yearning to confront an unknown and illuminate it through understanding. Questioning is a quest.”
Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. Buddhism has survived for the past 2,500 years because of its capacity to reinvent itself in accord with the needs of the different Asian societies with which it has creatively interacted throughout its history. As Buddhism encounters modernity, it enters a vital new phase of its development. Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism's role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer.
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Part I: The Early Middle Ages
Chapter 1: The Middle Ages: When, Where, What, Who?
Chapter 2: The end of Rome and the not so ‘Dark Ages'.
Chapter 3: Angles, Saxons and Feudalism.
Chapter 4: The Carolingians grab their chance.
Chapter 5: Charlemagne - A new empire is born.
Part II: The Making of Europe
Chapter 6: The (Holy Roman) Empire Strikes Back.
Chapter 7: East Meets West: Islam in the WesternMediterranean.
Chapter 8: The Vikings: A threat from the north.
Chapter 9: Schism: The Church splits itself in two.
Chapter 10: The Normans: The ‘real' Middle Agesbegin.
Part III: ‘Holy War': Crusading at home andabroad.
Chapter 11: Crusade: A call to arms.
Chapter 12: The First Crusade
Chapter 13: England vs France & Pope vs Emperor
Chapter 14: The Second Crusade & The ‘Crusades atHome'
Chapter 15: Richard vs Saladin: The Third Crusade
Chapter 16: The later Crusades and other failures.
Part IV: Parliament, Priories, Provisions & Plague
Chapter 17: John, Henry, Rudolf & Edward.
Chapter 18: Monks & Merchants: The new power brokers
Chapter 19: The Papacy on Tour: Avignon and the Anti-Popes
Chapter 20: ‘God's Judgement?': The Black Death
Part V: The End of the Middle and the start ofdiscovery.
Chapter 21: One Hundred Years of War
Chapter 22: The Peasants are Revolting
Chapter 23: Agincourt, Joan of Arc & the French recovery
Chapter 24: Columbus & The New World
Part VI: The Part of Tens
Chapter 25: Ten Rubbish Kings
Chapter 26: Ten Curious Medieval Pastimes
Chapter 27: Ten Great Castles
Chapter 28: Ten People Who Changed The World
Chapter 29: Ten Great Books (To read next)