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

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.


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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.