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Why Buddhism is True

The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment

by Robert Wright

From one of America’s most brilliant writers, a New York Times bestselling journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.

At the heart of Buddhism is a simple claim: The reason we suffer—and the reason we make other people suffer—is that we don’t see the world clearly. At the heart of Buddhist meditative practice is a radical promise: We can learn to see the world, including ourselves, more clearly and so gain a deep and morally valid happiness.

In this “sublime” (The New Yorker), pathbreaking book, Robert Wright shows how taking this promise seriously can change your life—how it can loosen the grip of anxiety, regret, and hatred, and how it can deepen your appreciation of beauty and of other people. He also shows why this transformation works, drawing on the latest in neuroscience and psychology, and armed with an acute understanding of human evolution.

This book is the culmination of a personal journey that began with Wright’s landmark book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal, and deepened as he immersed himself in meditative practice and conversed with some of the world’s most skilled meditators. The result is a story that is “provocative, informative and...deeply rewarding” (The New York Times Book Review), and as entertaining as it is illuminating. Written with the wit, clarity, and grace for which Wright is famous, Why Buddhism Is True lays the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age and shows how, in a time of technological distraction and social division, we can save ourselves from ourselves, both as individuals and as a species.

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Recommendations: 2

Categories: BuddhismHealth & WellnessPersonal DevelopmentPhilosophyPsychology & Mental HealthReligion & Spirituality

Reading time: 89 hours


Matt Mullenweg

I found that this book, which takes kind of a neuroscience view of text and Buddhism, Hinduism that go back sometimes thousands of years, is really, really fascinating. And it is an interesting juxtaposition of kind of how older wisdom intersects and interacts really well with the latest findings of science and how you can apply that to your life to quiet your monkey mind, to be able to focus. So this, regardless of your religious leanings or non-religious leanings I would say is excellent and a great read.

Nick Thompson
Editor and Journalist

So, each of the last two years I’ve given one book to a bunch of people. And this year, it’s a book by Robert Wright called Why Buddhism is True. And it’s a story about mindfulness and about the science of Buddhism and the current neuroscienc, about how our minds work, making the argument that the things people have said about mindfulness, meditation, and the way it changes your capacity to empathize with other people and to break out of the tribalism that we’re all locked into, the things that Buddhism has said about that turn out to be scientifically correct. And here’s a story about why. Wonderful book. Robert Wright is one of the smartest writers I’ve ever read.