33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A humanist with a spiritual heart, 9 May 2010
This man seems to be a humanist with a spiritual heart, but not spiritual in the traditional dualistic sense of that term, that carves the world up into natural and super-natural, sacred and profane. Rather he is spiritual in terms of valuing the lived experience of the individual, one's loves and longings, one's aspirations and fears, one's confrontation with profound questions at a personal and immediate level. This is not the abstract, intellectual humanism of ethical or political debate, it is an authentic engagement with one's very own life, informed and permeated by meditation and reflection. He shares this vision by describing how he has arrived at it in an autobiographical account which is candid and courageous. In addition to Buddhist practices, part of Batchelor's engagement with his own life has involved a quest for the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gotama. Thus the book flows seamlessly into a biographical account of Gotama and his teachings, which is well supported with historical scholarship and reasoning. I have resonated with every page from cover to cover. I'd recommend it to anyone who prefers an authentic engagement with the astonishing fact of their own existence, beyond consoling beliefs and religious platitudes or dogma. It is inspirational.