A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of the mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we (...) project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the "I" as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate--either in the waking state or in a lucid dream--we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as "me." We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness its dissolution with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives. (shrink)
Some twenty-five centuries after the Buddha started teaching, his message continues to inspire people across the globe, including those living in predominantly secular societies. But what does it mean to adapt religious practices to secular contexts? 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 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, its long survival 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. (shrink)
_An essential collection of Stephen Batchelor’s most probing and important work on secular Buddhism_ 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. (shrink)
The Buddhist view of the mind - how it works, how it goes wrong, how to put it right - is increasingly being recognised as profound and highly practical by scientists, counsellors and other professionals. In The Psychology of Awakening, this powerful vision of human nature, and its implications for personal and social life, are for the first time brought to a wider audience by some of those most influential in exploring its potential for the way we live today. These (...) include: David Brazier Jon Kabat Zinn Francisco Varela Joy Manne Geshe Thubten Jinpa Mark Epstein Gay Watson Maura Sills Guy Claxton Stephen Batchelor Deeply relevant, accessible and authoritative, The Psychology of Awakening will be of interest to all those who wish to understand the workings of their minds a little better and who are also seeking new ways of mastering the challenges - personal, professional and cultural with which modern life confronts us all. (shrink)
_In a time of social distancing and isolation, a meditation on the beauty of solitude from renowned Buddhist writer Stephen Batchelor__ A _Los Angeles Review of Books_ “Best of the Year” selection__ “Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it. A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.”—___Kirkus Reviews___ “Elegant and formally ingenious.”—Geoff Wisner, _Wall Street Journal__ When world renowned Buddhist writer Stephen Batchelor turned sixty, he took a sabbatical (...) from his teaching and turned his attention to solitude, a practice integral to the meditative traditions he has long studied and taught. He aimed to venture more deeply into solitude, discovering its full extent and depth. This beautiful literary collage documents his multifaceted explorations. Spending time in remote places, appreciating and making art, practicing meditation and participating in retreats, drinking peyote and ayahuasca, and training himself to keep an open, questioning mind have all contributed to Batchelor’s ability to be simultaneously alone and at ease. Mixed in with his personal narrative are inspiring stories from solitude’s devoted practitioners, from the Buddha to Montaigne, from Vermeer to Agnes Martin. In a hyperconnected world that is at the same time plagued by social isolation, this book shows how to enjoy the inescapable solitude that is at the heart of human life. (shrink)
Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara. Original Sanskrit Text with English Translation and Exposition Based on Prajnakaramati's Panjika. Pramananda Sharma. Foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama. Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi 1990. xxxv, 487 pp. Rs.550.