Episode 270 :: Stephen Batchelor :: Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World

| March 5, 2017 | 1 Comment

Stephen Batchelor

Stephen Batchelor joins us to speak about his new book, Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World.

When this podcast started in May of 2009, the term Secular Buddhism was arguably uncommon, if not virtually unknown. In the past seven years, though, that’s changed considerably. More people now describe themselves as secular Buddhists, and though there are still many voices in sometimes aggressive opposition to those of us leaning in close to what Buddhism can mean in our lives, we’re here. We’re active. And this exploration continues to resonate with those who find value in the dhamma.

Stephen Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. Stephen considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. In particular, he regards the doctrines of karma and rebirth to be features of ancient Indian civilization and not intrinsic to what the Buddha taught. Buddhism has survived for the past 2,500 years because of its capacity to reinvent itself in accord with the needs of the different societies with which it has creatively interacted throughout its history. As Buddhism encounters modernity, it enters a vital new phase of its development. Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism’s role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Secular Maniac tea. I’m not kidding, that’s a thing, I even linked it.


Web Links


Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of this podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. You can visit his website to hear more of his music, get the full discography, and view his upcoming tour dates.

Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Don Lively says:

    Listening to Stephen is like visiting with an old friend. It’s good to be back in the fold.

    Secular Dharma. I love it! It’s great to come back and find that Stephen has not only advanced his thinking and understanding of Sidd, but he’s managing to find ways to bring it to us. Buddhism is a word we cannot get away from. It already has meaning. “I practice the dharma” might spark a conversation.

    Plus, it gets us thinking outside of our tradition.

    The dharma–small d, because it’s humble–is not a new religion. It is a replacement for religion.

    Good to be back for hopefully a nice long visit.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.