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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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’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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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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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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Marc Lesser Today we speak with the CEO of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute Marc Lesser about his new book Know Yourself, Forget Yourself: Five Truths That Will Transform Your Work, Relationships, and Everyday Life. Paradox is, at best, not the most comforting of places to put our minds. And yet we see it…

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Ben Fleury-Steiner Ben Fleury-Steiner joins us to talk about mindfulness practice in Delaware at Open Heart Zen, and to continue our theme of compassion for others as he discusses his book Dying Inside: The HIV/AIDS Ward at Limestone Prison. Hi, everyone. When we do metta practice, starting with ourselves, then our loved ones, families, friends,…

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Shaila Catherine Meditation teacher Shaila Catherine speaks with us about jhana meditation and her book, Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm and Clarity. These days, it seems that there’s a great deal of attention to mindfulness meditation. And there’s nothing wrong with us spending time learning about and practicing…

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