Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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DNS
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Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by DNS » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:41 pm

Bestselling author Robert Wright has written a new book, Why Buddhism is true.
Robert Wright, the best-selling author of The Moral Animal and The Evolution of God, has written a new book titled Why Buddhism is True. Don’t be put off by the audacious title, though.

Wright isn’t proselytizing or implying that other religions are false. This is, instead, a light, accessible guide for anyone interested in the practical benefits of meditation. There are no analyses of Buddhist beliefs about reincarnation or supernatural deities; the focus is on what Wright calls Western Buddhism or secular Buddhism, which is less about belief and more about meditation as a therapeutic practice.

By “true” Wright means that Buddhism’s “diagnosis of the human predicament is fundamentally correct, and that its prescription is deeply valid and urgently important.” That diagnosis goes something like this: the human condition is defined by constant and ultimately inexplicable suffering. Meditation isn’t a way out of this suffering. But it helps us transcend it by teaching us to see it clearly for what it is, and by making us more attuned to our emotive impulses and the behaviors they produce.
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/ ... -interview
Looks like it might be a good book.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:02 pm

DNS wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:41 pm
Bestselling author Robert Wright has written a new book, Why Buddhism is true.
Robert Wright, the best-selling author of The Moral Animal and The Evolution of God, has written a new book titled Why Buddhism is True. Don’t be put off by the audacious title, though.

Wright isn’t proselytizing or implying that other religions are false. This is, instead, a light, accessible guide for anyone interested in the practical benefits of meditation. There are no analyses of Buddhist beliefs about reincarnation or supernatural deities; the focus is on what Wright calls Western Buddhism or secular Buddhism, which is less about belief and more about meditation as a therapeutic practice.

By “true” Wright means that Buddhism’s “diagnosis of the human predicament is fundamentally correct, and that its prescription is deeply valid and urgently important.” That diagnosis goes something like this: the human condition is defined by constant and ultimately inexplicable suffering. Meditation isn’t a way out of this suffering. But it helps us transcend it by teaching us to see it clearly for what it is, and by making us more attuned to our emotive impulses and the behaviors they produce.
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/ ... -interview
Looks like it might be a good book.
A few years ago, I did his Coursera on-line course on Buddhism. The basic premises seem to be the same. Buddhism makes sense because it's insights are entirely in line with the latest findings of neurophysiology. It was neatly and intelligently done, and he came across as very engaging and clear.

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by Will » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:13 pm

Theraputic paths using meditation to reduce suffering are available everywhere. In that regard, there is nothing special about Wright's 'Truth'. With this emphasis he could just have easily written Why fill-in-the-blank is True.

The permanent removal of all suffering is the unique offering of the Dhamma. Yet that requires many lifetimes of following the Four Truths. Without confidence in rebirth, kamma & the Path as taught by Buddha, nothing ultimately 'good' will result.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by JamesTheGiant » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:32 pm

I got the audiobook of it, and it's a bad audiobook.
The printed book might be good, I don't know. But the audiobook sounds almost like a computer-synthesized voice, and is hard to listen to for any time.

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by DNS » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:14 pm

Thanks for the feedback posts, so far. I'm not a secular Buddhist so don't need that convincing to practice. However, some do need that convincing, so I suppose some might need this secular packaging and perhaps at some later time, they might delve more into the Buddhist - religion concepts and practices.

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by Will » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:31 pm

DNS wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:14 pm
Thanks for the feedback posts, so far. I'm not a secular Buddhist so don't need that convincing to practice. However, some do need that convincing, so I suppose some might need this secular packaging and perhaps at some later time, they might delve more into the Buddhist - religion concepts and practices.
I have not read the book, so may be too harsh.

But if one believes in only one lifetime and meditation makes life bearable, what would motivate them to "delve more into the Buddhist - religion concepts and practices."?
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by DNS » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:08 am

Will wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:31 pm
I have not read the book, so may be too harsh.
But if one believes in only one lifetime and meditation makes life bearable, what would motivate them to "delve more into the Buddhist - religion concepts and practices."?
I suppose there could be a myriad of ways. Here's some I just thought of:

1. One goes to a retreat, hears an inspirational Dhamma talk from the teacher there and consults the teacher (who is a monk or nun or Buddhist lay teacher) and gets motivated to study Buddhism deeper.
2. One goes to a retreat or other program (as a secularist) and meets Buddhists there and following a discussion and book recommendation, delves deeper into Buddhism.
3. While doing secular mindfulness training, one gains some insights, which challenge his long-held secular ideas and realizes there may be something to this Buddhist religion.

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by Will » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:13 am

DNS wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:08 am
Will wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:31 pm
I have not read the book, so may be too harsh.
But if one believes in only one lifetime and meditation makes life bearable, what would motivate them to "delve more into the Buddhist - religion concepts and practices."?
I suppose there could be a myriad of ways. Here's some I just thought of:

1. One goes to a retreat, hears an inspirational Dhamma talk from the teacher there and consults the teacher (who is a monk or nun or Buddhist lay teacher) and gets motivated to study Buddhism deeper.
2. One goes to a retreat or other program (as a secularist) and meets Buddhists there and following a discussion and book recommendation, delves deeper into Buddhism.
3. While doing secular mindfulness training, one gains some insights, which challenge his long-held secular ideas and realizes there may be something to this Buddhist religion.
Sure hope you are right David!

My Mahayana heart says our buddha-nature can sometimes cut thru the worldly clutter. May it be so. :buddha1:
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by salayatananirodha » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:43 am

"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view...

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view."

— MN 117


Here you see that right mindfulness extends from right view. Ignoring and/or denigrating right view will not allow for right mindfulness. Buddhism divorced of the Buddha's teachings is a pithless decoy.
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by Alexander____ » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:02 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:32 pm
I got the audiobook of it, and it's a bad audiobook.
The printed book might be good, I don't know. But the audiobook sounds almost like a computer-synthesized voice, and is hard to listen to for any time.
I've encouraged my partner to read this book as a way into Buddhist thought. She got the audiobook and started it, but found exactly the same problem with it!

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by JamesTheGiant » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:34 am

Alexander wrote: found exactly the same problem with it!
Ha! I think it might be the author himself reading it, not a trained voice actor who would have made it a lot more engaging.
I love audiobooks these days, with my long commute in the car.

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Re: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Post by philosopher » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:40 am

His Coursera course is available here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

I'm on the last week. It's been... entertaining.

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