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Author Archives: Stephen Batchelor
Known as the ten undeclared topics, these are the statements that Gotama, the Buddha, refused to give a view on.
The ten theses that appear here constitute the final part of the last chapter of After Buddhism: Rethinking the dharma for a secular age, A Culture of Awakening.
Meditation originates and culminates in the everyday sublime. I have little interest in achieving states of sustained concentration in which the sensory richness of experience is replaced by pure introspective rapture.
I’m supposed to take a risk and say in 25 words or less what Buddhism is. That of course is a very arrogant presumption on one level. But what I have concluded tentatively in recent years is to identify four points that the Buddha taught that cannot be derived from the socio-historical context of his time, in other words that are distinctively and non-controversially his own ideas.
A community is a network or a set of friendships and relationships that serve the individuation of each member of the community. I don’t see a conflict in realising one’s potential as an individual and belonging to and being an active participant within a community.
I am a secular Buddhist. It has taken me years to fully ‘come out,’ and I still feel a nagging tug of insecurity, a faint aura of betrayal in declaring myself in these terms. As a secular Buddhist my practice is concerned with responding as sincerely and urgently as possible to the suffering of life in this world, in this century (our saeculum) where we find ourselves now and future generations will find themselves later. Rather than attaining a final nirvana, I see the aim of Buddhist practice to be the moment-to-moment flourishing of human life within the ethical framework of the eightfold path here on earth.