Living with the Devil

Stephen Batchelor, author of the extraordinary and insightful Buddhism Without Beliefs, writes about mind and mindfulness with great poetry. Sometimes this works, as when his favorite words — empty and fluid and contingent — echo and coil. In other places, however, Batchelor's prose is by turns slow, repetitive, and frustratingly opaque. The 2004 extended musing Living with the Devil suffers from that, as did his more recent quasi-autobiography Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. Powerful inversions and explorations of duality too often trip over their own complexity. But sometimes they dance. For example, from Chapter 16 ("An Ordinary Person's Life"):

... The impact Buddha had on those who encountered him was not solely due to his wise words and compassionate acts, For it seems that he appeared to others as someone in whom something had stopped in a radical and startling manner.

Other striking and memorable excerpts to follow ...

^z - 2013-05-24