By Stephen Batchelor
A bestselling Buddhist thinker bargains a private meditation of amazing perception.
no matter if we're spiritual or now not, the Devil-evil incarnate-is an idea that may nonetheless strike worry in our hearts. What if he does exist? What if he's inflicting all our difficulties in his decision to maintain us from attaining our complete strength?
Stephen Batchelor takes the idea that of the satan out of literature and heritage and brings him to existence in his many kinds and guises: the flatterer, the playmate, the worrying good friend, the stranger who deals leisure and solace, the individual that is familiar with you top and exhibits you your greatness on the planet. And, such a lot of all, because the nice obstructer that blocks all paths to goodness and actual humility.
For the 1st time, Batchelor fuses Western literature-Milton, Keats, Baudelaire-with Buddhism and the Judeo-Christian traditions in a poetic exploration of the fight with the idea that and fact of evil. Living with the Devil finds the voice of a brand new poet and thinker for our occasions.
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Stephen Batchelor was once born in Scotland, in 1953. He grew up in a humanist atmosphere along with his mom and brother in Watford, north west of London. After finishing his schooling at Watford Grammar tuition, he travelled overland to India in 1972, on the age of eighteen. He settled in Dharamsala, the capital-in-exile of the Dalai Lama, and studied on the Library of Tibetan Works and documents.
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Additional info for Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil
W hoever or whatever deprives m e of the right to that space violates me. That violence is a form of rape is implied by the French le viol (rape) and violer (to rape). W henever humans r e sort to violence, m en are m urdered and wom en raped. That inviolable space they regard as their own is penetrated against their will by a bullet or a penis. Acts of genocide, child abuse, and terrorism are p e rp e trated by educated, civilized, and religious people. The will ingness to violate others furtively behind closed doors or defiantly in the name of a higher good (the survival of a nation or the tru th of a religion) is readily concealed behind a smiling or pious exterior.
No m at ter how well we care for this organism of flesh and nerves and blood, it will one day fail us. “The undependable lord of death,” remarks Shantideva, “waits not for things to be done or undone. ” The stuff of which we are made, that allows the possibility of consciousness, love, and freedom , will also destroy us, wiping out that poignant identity of a sensitive creature with an unre peatable history, who has becom e a question for itself. Disease, ageing, and death are forms of an internal violence that afflicts all creatures; whereas natural disasters, viral infec tions, and terro rist attacks are examples of an external vio lence that threatens to break out anywhere.
Yet, to be ensnared by them locks us into fixed dogmatic positions, which are a form of intellec tual and spiritual death. Mara stands for sex as well as death. He is both the yearn ing to conceive life and that which brings it to an end. Sexual desire has such deep biological roots that, of all M aras troops, it assails us m ost forcibly. ” They offer themselves to Buddha in every imaginable female form , but he remains unmoved. For an ordinary m ortal to have resisted such an erotic assault would, they reflect, have produced either cardiac arrest or insanity.
Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil by Stephen Batchelor