17 Sep
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Buddhist Atheist

I was very impressed by the recent interview with Sam Harris in the philosophy column of the New York Times, and as a result, I’m now reading his new book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.

I understand that Harris is an atheist. But he’s clearly a Buddhist atheist. (There are quite a lot of us.)

The way this book is organized should give you a hint:

Chapter 1: Spirituality
The Search for Happiness
Religion, East and West
The Truth of Suffering

Chapter 2: The Mystery of Consciousness
The Mind Divided
Structure and Function
Are Our Minds Already Split?
Conscious and Unconscious Processing in the Brain
Consciousness Is What Matters

Chapter 3: The Riddle of the Self
What Are We Calling “I”?
Consciousness With our Self
Lost in Thought
The Challenge of Studying the Self
Penetrating the Illusion

Chapter 4: Meditation
Gradual versus Sudden Realization
Dzogchen: Taking the Goal as the Path
Having No Head
The Paradox of Acceptance

Chapter 5: Gurus, Death, Drugs, and Other Puzzles
Mind on the Brink of Death
The Spiritual Uses of Pharmacology



I’m just halfway into Chapter 1, but so far I like it a lot.

Here’s a sample quote:
Our world is dangerously riven by religious doctrines that all educated people should condemn, and yet there is more to understanding the human condition than science and secular culture generally admit.

More to come.

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