Summary Of Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs

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In Stephen Batchelor’s book, Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening he goes into depth about the idea that Buddhism is not a religion or something to believe in, but rather a mindset that is a way of living with a course of action. Throughout the book he gives examples and tells stories to defend the idea that Buddhism is more than just something to believe in, but it is a way of living. Batchelor noted that when it comes to viewing Buddhism as a religion it is important to know the way Buddha viewed himself “Instead of presenting himself as a savior, he saw himself as a healer” (6). His ‘job’ was not to convert people to believe in his beliefs, rather, he wanted to show them through actions how fulfilling his way of living…show more content…
In our generation with busy schedules and the high influence and use of technology the average attention span of a human is 8 seconds. We are constantly getting distracted by our own thoughts or external influences. We walk outside and we get lost in our thoughts rather than enjoying the weather or taking notice of the things we pass by. Many people tend to choose to live that way though, in a way where they purposefully do not pay attention “Drifting through life on a cushioned surge of impulses is but one of many strategies of forgetting” (58). They want to pick and choose what they remember, they want to ignore the bad and only recognize the good. But the pain and the negative is just as important as the joy and happiness in life. You can not grow without rain and sunlight, you need both the good and bad, the positive and negative, to become the best version you can be, “There is nothing unworthy of acceptance. The light of awareness will doubtless illuminate things we would prefer not to see”. To be able to move on with the difficult times in life you have to accept them as lessons and be able to learn from them so you do not end up in situations you wish to repress again. Though remembering and growing from the pain we have endured is necessary, embracing those memories and feelings does not mean indulging in them, “To embrace hatred is to accept it for what it is: a…show more content…
Each day everything we do we are able to do because we have the freedom to make a choice. We choose to get up and go to work, or, we choose to call in sick and stay in bed all day. Though one decision is generally better than the other, we have the freedom to have the option to pick what we want and need. Every being is free, but whether they are awake or not is shown through how and if they realize the abundant freedom they are given in life. The term dharma is mentioned throughout the book and is an important part of the practice of Buddhism. Dharma is as described by Batchelor, “referring to the teachings of the Buddha as well as to those aspects of reality and experience with which his teachings are concerned, ‘Dharma practice’ refers to the way of life undertaken by someone who is inspired by such teachings” (xi). Later in the book he goes on to further explain that the goal of dharma practice is to free ourselves from the illusion of freedom and to let go of self-centered craving so that our lives become gradually more
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