By Stephen Batchelor
A bestselling Buddhist thinker deals a private meditation of remarkable perception.
even if we're non secular or no longer, the Devil-evil incarnate-is an idea which can 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 achieving our complete power?
Stephen Batchelor takes the idea that of the satan out of literature and historical past and brings him to existence in his many types and guises: the flatterer, the playmate, the being concerned good friend, the stranger who deals relaxation and solace, the person that understands you most sensible and exhibits you your greatness on the planet. And, so much of all, because the nice obstructer that blocks all paths to goodness and real 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 unearths the voice of a brand new poet and thinker for our instances.
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Additional info for Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil
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.
We think of ourselves as free and independent agents, but Baudelaire insists that the devil “has long cradled our enchanted mind. ” he says. ” The theological concepts of “the devil” and “demons” have taken a psychological turn. They are ciphers for something sinister and troubling within us that we dimly intuit but do n ot understand. An impersonal sense of evil nonetheless persists. In his poem “D estruction,” Baudelaire writes: Ceaselessly theDemon races at my side; He swims around me as an impalpable breeze; Which I inhale— I fe e l it burn my lungs And J ill them with eternally guilty desire.
Mara is the natural world in all its glory and horror. This very earth that can leave you dumb 23 T h e G o d o f T h i s A ge w ith w onder as you contem plate its selfless unfolding will de stroy you with neither malice nor m ercy should its tectonic plates shift beneath your feet. Sublimely indifferent to our hopes and fears, life snuffs us out at death no m atter how tena ciously we cling to it. ” Mara is the Grim Reaper. In Tibet, he is depicted as Yama, lord of death, holding the world b e tween his teeth, ready to clamp shut at any m om ent.