By Stephen Batchelor
Batchelor's Buddhism with out ideals (1997) defined an earthly method of the japanese philosophy stripped of doctrines equivalent to karma and rebirth; how a tender British monk ordained within the Tibetan culture changed into a Buddhist atheist is published during this new ebook. at the dharma path in India and Korea, and later as a lay resident on the nonsectarian Sharpham group in England, Batchelor used to be beset via doubts approximately conventional Buddhist teachings. eventually confident that present-day varieties of Buddhism have moved a long way past what founder Gotama had meant, Batchelor launched into a research of the Pali canon (very early Buddhist texts) to determine what the Buddha's unique message could have been. Batchelor's personal tale of conversion is woven without difficulty along with his research of Buddhist teachings and a 2003 pilgrimage to Indian websites very important within the Buddha's lifestyles. he's candid approximately his disillusionments with institutionalized Buddhism with no carrying out one other new atheist broadside opposed to faith. whereas Batchelor may well exaggerate the newness of his Buddhism with out ideals stance, this multifaceted account of 1 Buddhist's look for enlightenment is richly soaking up.
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Thus, the longest section of his introduction to the volume is devoted to a discussion of the various forms of Hindu yoga, unaware that they are largely irrelevant to the Tibetan Buddhist practices set forth in the translation. Indeed, for Evans-Wentz, the meaning of the term “yoga” seems to expand until it ultimately encompasses all forms of religious practice—in all cultures and all times—of which he approves: Pythagoreans, the cult of Isis, “the School of Omar Khayyām,” Druids, Sufis, Gnostics, Jesuits, and Parsees.
The present work thus contains much that is new to Western thought, and much that, apart from its value for philosophy and religion, is interesting anthropologically. It should prove to be of the same quality and public appeal as the two volumes of the series which have already been published. Perhaps it may be found to be the most valuable member of the trilogy, inasmuch as it gives the very texts of some of the principal yogas and meditations which many of the most illustrious Tibetan and Indian philosophers, including Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa, employed in attaining Right Knowledge.
Prior to that point, there are a series of practices involving the contemplation of both one’s own form and then the form of a buddha in a mirror, designed to induce insight into the illusory nature of the body. The first four of the six teachings are intended to bestow buddhahood in this lifetime. If this is not possible, the last two provide means for doing so after death. The practice of consciousness transference is a technique for forcibly causing one’s consciousness to travel up through the central channel, exit from an aperture in the crown of the head, and travel to a pure land, an ideal realm for the achievement of enlightenment.