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Based on the language you're using, I'm guessing you haven't actually meditated much for any length of time.

If you're open to it, I'll bet you'd like Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs.

"Buddhism without beliefs" is a bit oxymoronic, no? :) Any doctrine must start with some assumptions (i.e, beliefs). Perhaps the title means "Buddhism without the obviously wacko beliefs". That doesn't mean it excludes the more subtle ones. Plus, the full title includes "a guide to awakening". That last word comes with a lot of bundled metaphysical assumptions.

Edit: It looks like a quick read, and it was a best seller. Thanks, I'll give it a try. I am interested in refreshing my understanding of the current "western buddhism" discourse (your contention that I'm not familiar with the Buddhist doctrine at all was incorrect).

Actually, I thought your writing was consistent with someone who's familiar with the doctrine, but lacks the direct experience. It's akin to confusing the menu with the meal.

I used to do exactly that (I read books on meditation for years before I finally started sitting in earnest). Somewhere on kuro5hin.org are some similar comments from my 11-years-younger self. :)

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