i n t e g r a l   c o u n s e l i n g   i n s t i t u t e

                        e n e r g i z i n g    t r a n s f o r m a t i o n    t  h r o u g h    i n q u i r y ,   i n s i g h t ,   a n d   i n t e g r a t i o n

   

                   March 2006 Book Review and Quotes Archive

                                      Living With The  Devil ~ A Meditation on Good and Evil
                                                                 by Stephen Batchelor
 

Stephen Batchelor is a former Tibetan and Zen monk and subsequently is in a unique position to offer a

blend of East/West perspectives on the concept of the Devil. He does so by tracing the thoughts of Buddha,
Christ, Milton and Kafka and others down through the centuries.
 
The Devil that he addresses may be the being with a tail and horns for some, but the thrust of his exploration

is the Devil that represents everything that stands in our way of wisdom, freedom and compassion.
Whether the Devil is an entity or a process or even a part of our biological make-up does not really matter.
 
What does matter, according to Batchelor, is that we must, as living beings, fully grasp who and what we really

are and to be comfortable with knowing that we can never be certain. The alternative to being comfortable

with uncertainty is to lock ourselves into ideologies, dogmas, and rigid definitions of the self which block our

path to wisdom, freedom and compassion.
 
Batchelor's point is that to be free of the demonic, we must take care not to suppress it or project it on others,

but rather to recognize it in all the forms it takes to court us away from the good. This is accomplished by calmly

and clearly seeing the Devil in all of his myriad forms, both externally and within ourselves.
 
This type of approach allows for new opportunities to unfold in ourselves and the external world, because we are

free of the Devil's grip and much more able to choose proper actions rather than simply react because we are
caught in the vice of fear and self-interest.
 
I would rate this book at 6.5 on a scale of 10. The author clearly has command of his subject matter, but his writing

style often hinders his message. Batchelor is able to offer some useful perspectives, but his viewpoint is as one

would expect: heavily flavored by his Buddhist background. That being said, it is worth a few hours on a rainy Sunday

to re-evaluate your notion of good and evil, especially with regard to this Devil fellow.
 
Reviewed by
Lynn Michael Allmeyer

 


                                                                                                                      

                                                                      

                                            March 2006 Weekly Quotes    

 

'As soon as one can distinguish between consciousness and awareness, the ongoing construction for

 the self ceases."
The Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali, A New Translation with Commentary by Chip Hartranet
 

 

"Consciousness, now oriented to this distinction, can gravitate toward freedom - the fully integrated

knowledge that awareness in independent of nature."
The Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali, A New Translation with Commentary by Chip Hartranet
 

 

"One who regards even the most exalted stages disinterestedly, discriminating continuously between

pure awareness and the phenomenal world, enters the final stage of integration, in which nature is seen

 to be a cloud of irreducible

experiential forms."
The Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali, A New Translation with Commentary by Chip Hartranet

 

 

                                     

 

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