Episode 241 :: Stephen Batchelor :: After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age


Stephen Batchelor

Stephen Batchelor returns to speak with us about his newest work, After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age.

As we think about the historical veracity of the Buddhist tradition, we may have an accidental tendency to miss some of the more compelling human elements of the story. We forget that these were likely real people, with real motivations, hopes, dreams, and suffering in their lives. By considering this not merely as a backstory, but integral to the full and beautifully complex portrait of early Buddhism, we may gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the richness of that lived human experience.

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 Jasmine Silver Needle tea.


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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.