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Alone With Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism

by Stephen Batchelor, John Eaton Calthorpe Blofeld

Buy the book: Stephen Batchelor. Alone With Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism

Release Date: December, 1983

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Stephen Batchelor. Alone With Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism

Existentialist buddhism, or modernist zen trend?

I sense the author is just pushing his own view on buddhism (or... existentialism) through this book: this is not a study of the crossroads between buddhism and existentialism, but the author's own view on buddhism expressed in the terms of existential thinking.
St. Batchelor in this book holds a view about buddhism very much close to that of contemporary Vietnamese zen buddhism. They see the world as manyfold manifestations all sprung from one unique universal 'tank' ('alaya vijnana'); consequently they hold the view that all things and beings in this universe are linked together in complete solidarity. This is one view: but this is not really essential either to buddhism or to existentialism. It also seems to me somewhat oversimplified as a moral and as a cosmic hypothesis. Personal responsability and gratuitous compassion are closer to ancient, theravada buddhism.
Anyway, I much preferred--and would recommend--the same author's "Buddhism without belief" as a contemporary, 'modernist' approach to the ageless and visionary wisdom of buddhism!

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Complex and philosophical, not for everyone

If you are familiar with existentialism and buddhism, and you would like to read about their relationship, this book is great. But I would not recommend one to read this book for an introduction to either Buddhism or existentialism. For an introduction to Buddhism, I recommend Bachelor's other book, "Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contempory Guide to Awakening". To learn more about existentialism, I would recommend reading the philosophy of Albert Camus.

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