- This week we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Stephen Batchelor, 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 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.
Stephen was born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1953. He grew up in a humanist environment with his mother Phyllis and brother David in Watford, north west of London. At the age of eighteen, he travelled overland to India, settling in Dharamsala, the capital-in-exile of the Dalai Lama, and studied at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives with Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey. He was ordained as a novice Buddhist monk in 1974. He left India in 1975 in order to study Buddhist philosophy and doctrine under the guidance of Geshe Rabten in Switzerland, and in the following year he received full ordination as a Buddhist monk. In 1979 he moved to Germany as a translator for Geshe Thubten Ngawang at the Tibetisches Institut, Hamburg. In April 1981 he travelled to Song-gwang-sa Monastery in South Korea to train in Zen Buddhism under the guidance of Kusan Sunim. He remained in Korea until the autumn of 1984, when he left for a pilgrimage to Japan, China and Tibet.
He disrobed in February 1985 and married Martine Fages in Hong Kong before returning to England. From 1990 he has been a Guiding Teacher at Gaia House meditation centre in Devon and since 1992 a contributing editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. In August 2000, he and Martine moved to Aquitaine, France, where they live in a small village near Bordeaux with their cat Zoë. While at home he pursues his work as a scholar, writer and artist. For several months each year, he travels worldwide to lead meditation retreats and teach Buddhism. He is the translator and author of various books and articles on Buddhism including the bestselling Buddhism Without Beliefs and Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil. His most recent books are Confession of a Buddhist Atheist and After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #243 - 26NOV16
The Mystical Positivist is now a weekly radio show on KOWS-LP 107.3 FM, Occidental, CA. Listen live on Saturday evenings from 4:00 - 6:00pm, PST, via the web at KOWS Live Stream.
This week's podcast features:
More information about Stephen Batchelor's can be found at: