Stephen Batchelor

  • Do you believe in Karma? Paid Member

    For last Thursday's Daily Dharma, we sent out this excerpt from an interview with Stephen Batchelor, "Starting from Scratch": What, then, did you conclude were distinctly Buddhist ideas?  Four things stand out. One is the principle of dependent origination, or “conditioned arising,” as I call it; the second is the practice of mindful awareness—being focused upon the totality of what is happening in our moment-to-moment experience; the third is the process of the Four Noble Truths, which includes the Eightfold Path; and fourth, the principle of self-reliance—how the Buddha really wanted his students to become autonomous in their understanding of the dharma, and not to generate dependencies upon either the memory of him or upon some authority figure within the monastic community. More »
  • Nagarjuna Paid Member

    The object of knowledge in dream is not seen when oneawakes. Similarly the world disappears to him who isawakened from the darkness of ignorance.The creation of illusion is nothing but illusion. Wheneverything is compound there is nothing which can beregarded as a real thing. Such is the nature of all things. -Mahayanavimsaka of Nagarjuna via Himalayan Art Resources, More »
  • 2 Photos from Stephen Batchelor in India Paid Member

    I received the below photos from Stephen Batchelor this morning, which he took while leading the 2011 Tricycle "In the Footsteps of the Buddha" Pilgrimage to India, which came to an end on February 7th. I hear it was a wonderful trip. The first photo is of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya and the second is of some trash in water. Is this pairing a profound commentary on the state of Buddhism and the modern world? You decide!   More »
  • Stephen Batchelor in Insight Journal: You don't have to believe in rebirth to be a Buddhist Paid Member

    Not many things in life are free, but there are exceptions. One of them is Insight Journal, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies publication edited by the center's co-director Andrew Olendzki. You can either order the hard copy or, if you're eco-conscious, download it. Of course, it's always a great help to offer dana—a donation—when you do. The organization supports itself through its paid courses and the generosity of its members and friends. This issue features a piece by Stephen Batchelor on his doubts about (or nowadays, his outright rejection of) rebirth—and he finds what he feels is support in Pali Canon. Years ago we featured a debate between Stephen and Bob Thurman on the topic—Stephen played skeptic, of course, and Bob the true believer. But nowadays Stephen isn't particularly interested in arguing the point and is more likely to reflect on how he came to his beliefs and his ever-evolving understanding of the Buddha's teachings. Here's an interesting excerpt from the Insight article: I am not in any way suggesting that the Buddha rejected the idea of rebirth, or did not believe in it..there is just too much in the Canon to say the Buddha was even agnostic about this. But there is another strand of text that seems to not quite fit that very well. I think the Pali Canon actually has multiple voices within it, not a single, monolithic voice. You get contradictory perspectives introduced all the time, which is part of the very richness of that literature. In the Kālāma Sutta the Buddha says, don’t just accept what I say because I am your teacher, because the tradition says it, or because it seems to be reasonable. At the end of that text, he speaks about the four solaces, or rewards, that come from the practice of the Dhamma. One solace says, if there is indeed another life, if there is, indeed, a law of karmic cause and effect, then, after death, you will be reborn in a happy realm and benefit from the results of your present karma. The second solace says, if there is no future life, if there is no law of karma, then, too, by practicing the Dhamma you will live happy and content, here and now, in this world. That is very striking: the Buddha seems to be saying what really matters is not what may or may not follow after death, but the quality of your experience, here and now in this very life. Admittedly, this passage occurs once, whereas rebirth and karma occur everywhere. Nonetheless, it looks oddly out of place. For that very reason, it is probably original: It would have been in no orthodox tradition’s interest to have added it later. Even more to the point is “the declared and the undeclared” in the Mālunkyovāda Sutta, Majjhima 63: More »
  • Buddhism for Humanists Paid Member

    Over at The New Humanism (TNH), a publication of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard, there is a special issue dedicated to Secular Buddhism, featuring, among others—and not surprisingly—Tricycle contributing editor Stephen Batchelor, author of the recently published Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. In "No Future in a Parrot's Egg: Digging into the Humanist Heart of Buddhism" Batchelor writes, More »
  • Tricycle's 2011 Pilgrimages to India Paid Member

    ANCIENT BUDDHIST MONASTERIES OF INDIA and IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE BUDDHA More »