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The Buddha Before Buddhism: Review of Fronsdal

| January 9, 2017 | 11 Comments
The Buddha Before Buddhism: Review of Fronsdal

In his new book The Buddha Before Buddhism, Gil Fronsdal undertakes a translation of the Aṭṭhakavagga or Book of Eights, one of the Buddha’s most profound and enigmatic teachings, also widely considered one of his earliest. As is to be expected from his previous translation of the Dhammapada (2005), Fronsdal’s book is lucid and readable, one that should […]

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The Nonviolence Handbook: A Review

| February 29, 2016 | 0 Comments
The Nonviolence Handbook: A Review

Buy at Amazon or Audible Buy directly at Metta Center for Nonviolence       You know those little games people like to post as their Facebook statuses? Well, last week, this one led me to “The Nonviolence Handbook… with a chainsaw.” Apparently, things either got out of control quickly or The Nonviolence Handbook is very […]

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Batchelor’s “After Buddhism”: A Review

| December 8, 2015 | 8 Comments
Batchelor’s “After Buddhism”: A Review

With After Buddhism, Stephen Batchelor continues his project of cultivating a secular dhamma. Batchelor’s book is structured as an exegesis of the Pāli Canon, focusing almost exclusively on this early material to reconstruct what might be termed a secular Buddha. This is a Buddha who followed a kind of Pyrrhonian skepticism about truth, who declined […]

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Philip Kitcher on Secular Humanism

| January 19, 2015 | 5 Comments
Philip Kitcher on Secular Humanism

One criticism of ‘New Atheist’ books has been that they lack sophistication, that they attack only the most extreme forms of theistic belief without touching its more nuanced, liberal forms. So it comes as a welcome development to read Philip Kitcher’s new book, which takes a more nuanced look at religious belief and practice. As […]

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Sam Harris Talks Spirituality

| December 18, 2014 | 14 Comments
Sam Harris Talks Spirituality

Sam Harris’s new book Waking Up has a lot to recommend it. Harris is a gifted writer, always clear and engaging, who never seems to talk down to the reader. This is not an easy task when dealing with abstruse topics. Harris picks out salient examples and tells interesting stories that continually bring his points to […]

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Mindful America: A Review

| November 5, 2014 | 3 Comments
Mindful America: A Review

I was by turns excited, puzzled and exasperated as I read Jeff Wilson’s Mindful America: The Mutual Transformation of Buddhist Meditation and American Culture.  This first attempt at an academic look at the rise of the mindfulness movement is a fascinating, provocative and often entertaining read,  but its cultural studies methodology can be questionable and […]

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Waking Up: A Review

| September 22, 2014 | 53 Comments
Waking Up: A Review

I still remember my excitement on encountering, in Sam Harris’ first book, The End of Faith, the suggestion that it would be possible to enjoy many of the benefits which people had traditionally sought from religion without the need to embrace religion itself.  Buddhist meditiation was one of the practices Harris mentioned as a specific example of wisdom that […]

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