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Why Buddhism is true : the science and…
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Why Buddhism is true : the science and philosophy of meditation and… (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Robert Wright, Fred Sanders

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5852129,336 (3.98)76
From one of America's most brilliant writers, a New York Times bestselling journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness. At the heart of Buddhism is a simple claim: The reason we suffer--and the reason we make other people suffer--is that we don't see the world clearly. At the heart of Buddhist meditative practice is a radical promise: We can learn to see the world, including ourselves, more clearly and so gain a deep and morally valid happiness. In this "sublime" (The New Yorker), pathbreaking book, Robert Wright shows how taking this promise seriously can change your life--how it can loosen the grip of anxiety, regret, and hatred, and how it can deepen your appreciation of beauty and of other people. He also shows why this transformation works, drawing on the latest in neuroscience and psychology, and armed with an acute understanding of human evolution. This book is the culmination of a personal journey that began with Wright's landmark book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal, and deepened as he immersed himself in meditative practice and conversed with some of the world's most skilled meditators. The result is a story that is "provocative, informative and...deeply rewarding" (The New York Times Book Review), and as entertaining as it is illuminating. Written with the wit, clarity, and grace for which Wright is famous, Why Buddhism Is True lays the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age and shows how, in a time of technological distraction and social division, we can save ourselves from ourselves, both as individuals and as a species.… (more)
Member:Pumpkinson
Title:Why Buddhism is true : the science and philosophy of meditation and enlightenment
Authors:Robert Wright
Other authors:Fred Sanders
Info:New York : Simon & Schuster Audio, 2017.
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:to-read

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Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright (2017)

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» See also 76 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
On one hand, this book is a very strong and convincing introduction to the core truths of "Buddhism" (in quotes, because this book is very much written for the Western secular practitioner), why they matter, and how they can improve your understanding of the world and of your own mind. I felt there was a relevant insight or cleverly worded explanation on almost every page; I had to restrain myself from highlighting too many passages. In these passages, the prose is clear and flows easily. Even those skeptical of Buddhism or meditation should read this book to have these concepts in their wheelhouse.

On the other hand, Wright for some reason felt the need to intersperse clunky, verbose, poorly-edited humor/anecdotes/self-deprecation in with the real writing. This didn't detract much from my overall experience, but its existence in the text means four stars to a book that I easily took five stars worth of value from. ( )
  Alex_JN | Dec 10, 2019 |
Accessible and lively tour of the philosophical issues. Stays secular but with enough personal anecdote to keep things interesting. ( )
1 vote albertgoldfain | Jul 31, 2019 |
Wow, this took me a month to read. I got bogged down midway through but am glad I kept going with it.

The primary title Why Buddhism is True is misleading, as the information presented focuses on secular Buddhist ideas, including the benefits of mindful meditation practice. Wright does mention this and proves an explanation as to why he still decided to chose the title. In a nutshell, the book covers select Buddhist themes related to human suffering, including how humans fail to see the world clearly based on illusory feelings and the cycle of craving, leading to attainment, eventually leading to more craving. Well, you get the idea. Meditation is offered as a way to reduce the suffering from these ongoing feelings and thoughts. Wright offers theories from evolutionary psychology as an explanation for some of these basic human behaviors.

There were several concepts that I had difficulty embracing including the idea of "not-self," with one definition stating the self simply doesn't exist. The author does present these ideas multiple times throughout the book and offers different definitions and perspectives. (In other words, is a glass half empty, half full or something in between? It is left open to interpretation and as reader, sometimes I couldn't decide which definition best aligned with my beliefs.) I could write several pages on this subject but then I'd just be delving into themes presented in the book that are too difficult to explain within the framework of a few sentences.

I don't know if I accept or agree with everything presented by Wright but a lot of it does make sense. Even if some of my feelings are distorted, and I am sure that is the case, I am not willing to discount my intuition in certain situations. However, if mindful meditation can create a sense of inner calm and clearer view of the world, that seems like a good thing. If that translates into less (emotional) pain or reactivity and more empathy for other people, then even better. During the past eight years, I have noticed some positive effects from my own efforts to meditate, although I don't practice as often or long as I should to get the most benefits.

This book may not be for everyone but Wright does offer a free online class called Buddhism and Modern Psychology through Coursera. Otherwise, for someone new to these concepts or for children, there is always A Walk in the Wood: Meditations on Mindfulness with a Bear Named Pooh. Sometimes simple and cute will suffice to get a message across. ( )
  This-n-That | Jun 30, 2019 |
I'm sure for those with an interest, it was a great book (based on the Goodreads ratings). I read about 50 pages and put the book down. I guess I did not have the requisite consciousness or mental bandwidth to reach enlightenment. I zoned out quickly from the book. ( )
  writemoves | Jun 17, 2019 |
There was a lot of information to absorb in this book and for people interested in science or evolutionary psychology, there are some fascinating ideas to ponder. However, I had different expectations for this book, based mostly on the title -- Why Buddhism is True. But really this book is about how our minds show us a distorted reality, a necessary feature for survival, and how meditation can unmask the distortion and show us the truth. I really liked the evolutionary biology part of this book. It's so interesting to see how we distort reality and why humans evolved to do this. And although I can see that there is a lot of data these days espousing the benefits of meditation, I don't know I agree that it will solve many of the problems in our world as Wright seems to preach. Also, he discounts some of the religious aspects of Buddhism, so I feel like his title is deceptive. It would be like saying why Judaism is True and then have a book that discusses the validity of one of the ten commandments.

The book is accessible and entertaining, but it left me oddly unsettled. ( )
  jmoncton | Jun 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Wright’s book is provocative, informative and, in many respects, deeply rewarding.
 
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From one of America's most brilliant writers, a New York Times bestselling journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness. At the heart of Buddhism is a simple claim: The reason we suffer--and the reason we make other people suffer--is that we don't see the world clearly. At the heart of Buddhist meditative practice is a radical promise: We can learn to see the world, including ourselves, more clearly and so gain a deep and morally valid happiness. In this "sublime" (The New Yorker), pathbreaking book, Robert Wright shows how taking this promise seriously can change your life--how it can loosen the grip of anxiety, regret, and hatred, and how it can deepen your appreciation of beauty and of other people. He also shows why this transformation works, drawing on the latest in neuroscience and psychology, and armed with an acute understanding of human evolution. This book is the culmination of a personal journey that began with Wright's landmark book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal, and deepened as he immersed himself in meditative practice and conversed with some of the world's most skilled meditators. The result is a story that is "provocative, informative and...deeply rewarding" (The New York Times Book Review), and as entertaining as it is illuminating. Written with the wit, clarity, and grace for which Wright is famous, Why Buddhism Is True lays the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age and shows how, in a time of technological distraction and social division, we can save ourselves from ourselves, both as individuals and as a species.

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