SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

The Art of Solitude

Yale Univ. Feb. 2020. 200p. ISBN 9780300250930. $23. REL
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Prominent Buddhist scholar Batchelor (Buddhism Without Beliefs) looks at examples from Buddhism, Christianity, literature, and art to explore how devoted adherents of those who seek the wisdom of solitude have shared their insights with the world. This book also serves to show how Batchelor has explored Buddhist meditation. All of these endeavors have provided him with a deeper knowledge of himself as well as a more profound appreciation of art. Of particular interest to the author are the writings of French philosopher Michel de Montaigne and the paintings of Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Though these figures are separated by a century and working in different mediums, Batchelor provides an illuminating discourse of the connections in their works. The exploration of the self is not at all dissimilar to the Hero’s Journey described by mythologist Joseph Campbell. However, rather than going out into the world to conquer some physical adversary, in this case the hero must go within.
VERDICT A wide-ranging work with many poignant assertions that will appeal to those wishing to learn about more about the spiritual aspects of practicing mindfulness.

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