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on 16 March 2017
Nice book but spoilt the the continual use of the word 'anguish' instead of the universal and most well known term of 'suffering' as regards to the First Noble Truth'. Just try saying the word over, dumb choice. Check out his other book 'Confessions of a Buddhist Athiest', which is a grest read.
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on 7 May 2016
The back cover says: "Buddhism without beliefs demystifies Buddhism by explaining, without jargon or obscure terminology, what awakening is and how to practise it." I think this is misleading. The complicated language used and long sentences make this book a very difficult read. I'm not sure what I have actually learnt after finishing it.

I would not recommend this book for people looking for a simple introduction to Buddhism (like me).
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on 25 May 2017
Interesting book, worth a read. As an Atheist I struggled with the insistence that Agnosticism was a prerequisite to engage with Buddhism as presented by the author - "Without Beliefs" doesn't seem to mean, as I had anticipated, that you don't have to subscribe to the more metaphysical claims attached to Buddhism (karma, reincarnation, etc.) it means eschewing any sort of "religious" beliefs, including, in this religious sense, concrete non-belief (atheism).
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on 23 June 2016
I was really looking forward to this book as it was reviewed as a simple introduction to Buddhism. It's more like how many words can i use in one sentence. It's nor simple or pleasurable, i gave it a good go i really did. But just a bit too stuffy and overwritten.
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on 24 April 2017
Interesting
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on 29 April 2017
Interesting
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HALL OF FAMEon 24 February 2007
This is a good place to start if you're interested in Buddhism. Like the title suggests, it can be read by those with no prior knowledge of Buddhism and those who follow other faiths, but wish to learn more. Not only that, it provides a source of real wisdom for those who wish to lead a better life, but without saying they are Buddhist (or even any faith at all). Not the deepest book, but a perfect introduction for that reason.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 28 February 2005
This book is profound on so many levels that even an experienced and committed buddhist finds it challenging and thought-provoking. It is also an excellent beginners' book. What it does so uniquely well is separate buddhism from "religion" by showing that doubt is a necessary part of faith rather than a hindrance to it. It completely eschews jargon - which is a very effective technique - focussing instead on the human experience of life. Interestingly, this style is closer to the Lord Buddha's message because personal experience is so much more important than dogma. Like many great buddhist books, it is divided into small readable chunks, making it ideal for contemplation. It basically provokes us to ask many questions about life and see how we can integrate meditation and a gentle approach to others into it. The topics covered are typical buddhist ones - suffering, anxiety, aggression and so on. It also deeply personal - at times we feel the author letting us into his own mind.
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on 5 February 2010
This is a well written and thought-provoking book which is tailored for the modern western reader.

The author, Stephen Batchelor, strips down the jargon, religious dogma and cultural debris which Buddhism has accumulated over the centuries and represents the core concepts in a `pure' and easy to understand form.

He points out that Buddhism's gradual transmission from India to China and Tibet, then onwards to Japan, has seen the dharma pick-up aspects of each country's culture and traditions. It could be argued that each step has diluted the original aim of awakening, transforming Buddhism from an agnostic movement promoting self-liberation to a religious movement that puts ritual before awakening.

With Buddhism now gaining a foothold in the West, Batchelor believes that we are in a position to create a true culture of awakening - one that takes the core teachings and practices and discards the aspects which are not relevant to practice. At the same time he takes a balanced view, admitting the difficulties of this process and the dangers of discarding something which is valuable, thereby making awakening harder for future generations. He proposes no answers, only raises more questions, which, in a book calling for agnostic Buddhism, is a very good thing.

In a way the author does not propose anything new. The stripping down of scripture and ritual, and the emphasis on direct practice, reminds one of early Ch'an and Zen Buddhism. However, it is, I believe, a valuable book as it can often be extremely difficult for Westerners to get through to the core of dharma practice. `Buddhism Without Beliefs' does a good job of it. Not quite the Buddhism in plain words which I think the world needs, but a very good start.
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on 27 November 2010
This author has been a revelation to me. This book bridges the gap between western and western thought. It is written in succinct prose and is easily understandable to the lay person. There is nothing nihilistic or depressing about the arguments. You are not persuaded into a materialistic view of the world, although the author is not a believer in God in the accepted sense. You begin to grasp the extraordinariness of existence without going all airy fairy on it. However, I can also see that to reap the benefit of these understandings would require a lot of hard work on the part of the seeker. You've got to know yourself very deeply, and this won't happen without loads of self-discipline in meditation and such-like.
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