The Middle Way in Buddhism books

Since the explicit idea of the Middle Way first arose in Buddhism, there is obviously scope for useful and inspiring writing about the Middle Way in the context of Buddhism. However, most Buddhist authors tend to just appropriate the Middle Way to other aspects of Buddhist tradition rather than writing about it independently or using it as an independent criterion. The following books either use the Middle Way as a criterion within Buddhism (in the case of Robert M Ellis’s earlier books) or do at least try to develop a modern critical perspective on Buddhism.

A New Buddhist Ethics** by Robert M Ellis (2011)

This develops a Middle Way approach various issues in practical ethics, including medical ethics, the environment, economic, social, and scientific issues. Although it was directed towards Buddhists when written, it uses the Middle Way as its criterion throughout and is critical of traditional Buddhist Ethics.

The Trouble with Buddhism**by Robert M Ellis (2011)

This offers a critique of various aspects of traditional Buddhist teaching and practice, including the use of enlightenment, the Four Noble Truths, karma and rebirth, meditation and ethics. It offers a plea for the reform of Buddhism using the Middle Way.

Buddhism without Beliefs* by Stephen Batchelor (1997)

The book which first put forward the idea that Buddhism could be adapted into a practice without dependence on metaphysical beliefs.

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist* by Stephen Batchelor (2012)

More recent book by Stephen Batchelor in which he mingles autobiography, discussion of the Buddha, and reflections on how Buddhism should be understood today.

After Buddhism** by Stephen Batchelor (2015)

A much more comprehensive account of Stephen Batchelor’s interpretation of Buddhism, drawing extensively on sources about the Buddha with much (largely implicit) use of the Middle Way.

Emptiness and Joyful Freedom* by Greg Goode and Tomas Sanders

An attempt to develop Buddhist emptiness teachings beyond Buddhist tradition, drawing extensively on Western thought and offering practical exercises. However, the lack of even-handedness in the treatment of philosophy in this book is disappointing.

Greek Buddha **** by Christopher Beckwith

An academic argument that radically challenges the conventional view of the Buddha and identifies his original views as Pyrrhonian sceptical ones.

 

 

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