Cover image for Living with the devil : a meditation on good and evil
Living with the devil : a meditation on good and evil
Batchelor, Stephen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Riverhead Books, 2004.
Physical Description:
224 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BQ4301 .B37 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A personal meditation by the best-selling Buddhist philosopher considers the existence of evil in the world, drawing on western and Buddhist literature to profile the devil as a deceptive or distracting obstacle to true goodness and humility. 40,000 first printing.

Author Notes

A former Buddhist monk, Stephen Batchelor has written several books attempting to make Buddhist accessible and understandable to the Western reader. These books include The Awakening of the West: The Encounter of Buddhist and Western Culture, and Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The author of Buddhism Without Beliefs and a former monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions, Batchelor works to reconcile the fears, desires, and compulsions of the ego (the devil or Mara) with the certainty of death. Drawing on a rich variety of literature, religious tradition and history, Batchelor demonstrates how the anguish associated with the transient nature of life has preoccupied humans for centuries: Job wrestles with his fate; Pascal's writings reflect his dread at being expelled from the universe when his existence would eventually come to a close. Surveying responses to this intractable problem, Batchelor concludes that mankind has always relied on the temptations of the devil to still anxiety and create an aura of permanence. Compulsive activities, lustful behavior and behaving violently and destructively to others are all evils that stem from Mara. Overcoming these feelings and pursuing the way of love and compassion, for Batchelor, rests on one's ability to make peace with the devil and nourish one's "Buddha nature." Although he explores a number of philosophies, Batchelor's focus is on the path to nirvana (a cessation of desires) forged by Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince and the historical Buddha, whose life and thinking are presented in some detail. Some of the references will be obscure to neophytes, but Batchelor's genuine concern and desire for a better world come through clearly. Agent, Anne Edelstein of Anne Edelstein Literary Agency. (June 7) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Batchelor (Buddhism Without Beliefs) has written a moving and timely study of the problem of evil from a Buddhist perspective. He draws deeply on traditional Buddhist insights as well as stories from the legends surrounding the Buddha's life to suggest that our need to divide experience into good and evil is itself the problem. In fact, dualism is one aspect of our illusions about the world that the Buddha sought to dispel. "The devil is incarnate today," Batchelor writes, "as the structural violence that pervades and ruptures the interconnected world." Rejecting this violence and its dualities, Batchelor suggests, will leave us free for true awareness. A highly illuminating book; recommended for all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.