Thursday, June 10, 2010

Buddhist Geeks #175: The Buddhist Atheist, Stephen Batchelor

Ah, what fun - one of my favorite teachers - I very much enjoyed Stephen Batchelor's recent controversial book, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, and his earlier controversial book, Buddhism Without Beliefs.

Buddhist Geeks #175: The Buddhist Atheist

BG 175: The Buddhist Atheist
08. Jun, 2010 by Stephen Batchelor

Episode Description:

Secular Buddhist teacher Stephen Batchelor joins us to explore some of the ideas presented in his newest book, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. We start off by examining the two Buddhist doctrines of karma and rebirth, using the original teachings of the Buddha, especially the “imponderables” as a touchstone for the conversation. Stephen’s basic claim being that the belief in rebirth doesn’t have sufficient evidence behind it, and it actually takes away from the core practices and teachings of the Buddha. We conclude the interview by exploring the difference between agnosticism and atheism, which Stephen claims can be integrated together into what he calls an “ironic atheism.”

Episode Links:


About Stephen Batchelor

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 civilisation 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 Asian 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.


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