Books that have Shaped Me #2

This posting is for the second book in this series of books that have shaped the way I think, feel, and look at the world.

The second book in the series of books that were influential to me is Buddhism Without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor.

This book strips out all the things you would traditionally think of in a religion to the point that you wouldn't think a religion exists (you don't even have to believe in the Buddha, karma, or anything like that). But yet, one does. Perhaps, you could argue that it is the core of many or all religions. Simple things like Awareness, Integrity, Compassion, Becoming, and how to practice these things. Well, perhaps not so simple to do, but simplicity in terms of a religion.

This book taught me that, despite what I think of religions in the past, they do have value. (I have previously doubted this mostly due to all the pain that they cause along the way.) This is despite what you may have learned about your particular religion, and is something you can still learn even if you don't believe in any religion in particular.

It is perhaps interesting that Stephen Batchelor chose Buddhism as the means to write this book, for it probably could have been written from the perspective of any religion. My feeling is that he chose Buddhism because there may be less of a stigma to challenging the central thought of Buddhism (since this is what the Buddha always encouraged anyway). Other religions are less tolerant of challenges to their central cores. That's my theory, anyway.

Whichever way you look at it, a fine book.

The previous book in this series was: Simplicity.