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lisehull
03 Sep 17, 00:40
Hi there, it seems that, in this forum, and elsewhere, hardcore Buddhists feel threatened by his thinking, rather than looking at what he says with an open mind. I, for one, like his basic premise that Buddhism is living in the here and now, applying the teachings in every day life.

Thoughts?

Element
03 Sep 17, 01:31
..hardcore Buddhists feel threatened by his thinking, rather than looking at what he says with an open mind. I, for one, like his basic premise that Buddhism is living in the here and now, applying the teachings in every day life. Thoughts?

Stephen is a hindrance (rather than a threat) to the here-&-now school of hardcore Buddhists because he actually is engaged in close minded superstition. For example, if 'rebirth' is taken to mean what the average person believes 'rebirth' to be and you say you are atheist towards 'rebirth' then you actually believe 'rebirth' to not be part of what the Buddha taught, which is wrong, because, in reality, there is knowable 'rebirth'. The Buddha did teach about something the translators translate as 'rebirth'.

The here-&-now school of hardcore Buddhism has existed for many decades & is based on both dedicated meditation practise & impeccable scholarship. Stephen, frankly, is an ex-Mahayana Johhny-come-lately, not up to the mark in terms of scholarship & appears to simply be engaged in watering down the core here-&-now teachings for mass-market appeal. He leads an unreflective cult of followers who believe in illogical ideas because they follow him blindly. Stephen does not even believe in Nibbana (i.e., a mind without any defilements). If Nibbana is not believed in, how can there be Buddhism? :neutral:

Stephen represents an extreme side of another extreme & is making no sincere efforts to explain the true Buddhist teachings. Stephen had a debate with a monk named Brahmali on Youtube and both were like a comedy show of Abbott & Costello or Laurel & Hardy because neither represented the true teaching. It was just a mass-market comedy show.

There is 're-birth'. Each time egoism or self-view arises in the mind, this is 're-birth'. It is illogical, unrealistic, untrue & superstitious to deny the here-&-now reality of 'rebirth'.

daverupa
03 Sep 17, 05:06
Thoughts?

Dilettantes always argue, especially when evidence gets thin on the ground & speculation becomes more attractive.

Aloka
03 Sep 17, 06:27
Hi there, it seems that, in this forum, and elsewhere, hardcore Buddhists feel threatened by his thinking, rather than looking at what he says with an open mind.


I agree that orthodox Buddhists usually dismiss his ideas very strongly.


Stephen does not even believe in Nibbana (i.e., a mind without any defilements). If Nibbana is not believed in, how can there be Buddhism?

Can you provide some actual evidence for your assertions about Stephen Batchelor, please Element?

.

Personally, I like Ajahn Sumedho's comments about Nibbana in his introduction to "The Island" by Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Pasanno:




A difficulty with the word ‘nibbāna’ is that its meaning is beyond the power of words to describe. It is, essentially, undefinable.

Another difficulty is that many Buddhists see Nibbāna as something unobtainable – as so high and so remote that we’re not worthy enough to try for it. Or we see Nibbāna as a goal, as an unknown, undefined something that we should somehow try to attain.

Most of us are conditioned in this way. We want to achieve or attain something that we don’t have now. So Nibbāna is looked at as something that, if you work hard, keep the sīla, meditate diligently, become a monastic, devote your life to practice, then your reward might be that eventually you attain Nibbāna – even though we’re not sure what it is.

Ajahn Chah would use the words ‘the reality of non-grasping’ as the definition for Nibbāna: realizing the reality of non-grasping. That helps to put it in a context because the emphasis is on awakening to how we grasp and hold on even to words like ‘Nibbāna’ or ‘Buddhism’ or ‘practice’ or ‘sīla’ or ”

http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/the-island/







Stephen had a debate with a monk named Brahmali on Youtube and both were like a comedy show of Abbott & Costello or Laurel & Hardy because neither represented the true teaching. It was just a mass-market comedy show.




I don't think these remarks are actually providing anything useful for the development of a reasoned discussion.



:hands:

.

Sam Vara
03 Sep 17, 07:37
Hi there, it seems that, in this forum, and elsewhere, hardcore Buddhists feel threatened by his thinking, rather than looking at what he says with an open mind. I, for one, like his basic premise that Buddhism is living in the here and now, applying the teachings in every day life.

Thoughts?

I'm not sure who counts as a "hardcore Buddhist"; is it one who believes in the literal truth of everything in the suttas, regardless of evidence? If so, I'm not one of them. I don't think I'm threatened by SB's opinions. More that I find little of value in them, and think he has missed the point of them. I have tried to be as open minded as possible, although I recognise that we are all compromised by defilements which shape the way we think.

I recognise what you say about Buddhism being about "living in the here and now", because it is a common way of describing it. But taking that as a "basic premise" simply means that we no longer have to think about whether it is true. It becomes an axiom, or fundamental truth that we don't question. My view is that it needs to be proven, or supported; does the Buddha only ever talk about "living in the here and now", or does he sometimes talk about other things which might also be very important?

Element
03 Sep 17, 11:15
Can you provide some actual evidence for your assertions about Stephen Batchelor, please Element?
Do you think I would tell a deliberate lie? :neutral: I recall quite clearly Stephen has said his view was the Buddha did not quench the defilements, possibly in his view about Mara. Sorry, no time to research now. Maybe you can look up Stephen's views on the 4 noble truths, particularly the 3rd.


I don't think these remarks are actually providing anything useful for the development of a reasoned discussion.
Why? There is a video you can watch. Brahmali seems speaking about a metaphysical rebirth & Stephen is denying rebirth. Both are asserting something they cannot know. Neither is speaking about what is known or knowable. It was merely a mass-market exercise to me, each appealing to their respective audience, neither speaking the truth.

:peace:

nigele2
03 Sep 17, 11:19
Hi there, it seems that, in this forum, and elsewhere, hardcore Buddhists feel threatened by his thinking, rather than looking at what he says with an open mind. I, for one, like his basic premise that Buddhism is living in the here and now, applying the teachings in every day life.

Thoughts?

Having started out less than 6 months ago and getting a bit bogged down with where to go next, Stephen, having read his reviews, sounds like the next step for me so thanks for that. :reading:

He seems for me to ask the right questions. Whether he answers them I´'ll have to wait and see.

Aloka
03 Sep 17, 12:37
Do you think I would tell a deliberate lie? :neutral: I recall quite clearly Stephen has said his view was the Buddha did not quench the defilements, possibly in his view about Mara. Sorry, no time to research now. Maybe you can look up Stephen's views on the 4 noble truths, particularly the 3rd.



What you said in #2 was:




Steven does not even believe in Nibbana


Unless you mean "believe in Nibbana" in the same way as one might "believe" in angels or Santa Claus, I don't think that seem to be quite the case in this quote from his most recent book :



“Gotama takes a noun, “the unconditioned,” and treats it as a verb: “not to be conditioned” by something. He seems acutely aware of the relational nature of language. There is no such thing, for example, as freedom per se. There is only freedom from constraints, or freedom to act in ways that were not possible because of those constraints.

Nor is there any awakening per se, but only awakening from the “sleep” of delusion, or awakening to the presence of others who suffer. And there is no such thing as the unconditioned, only the possibility of not being conditioned by something.

Nirvana, therefore, does not refer to the attainment of a transcendent, absolute state apart from the conditions of life but to the possibility of living here and now emancipated from the inclinations of desire, hatred, and delusion.

A life not conditioned by these instincts and drives would be an enriched one. No longer would one be the victim of paralyzing habits; one would be freed to respond to circumstances in fresh, unimpeded ways.

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/44966691-after-buddhism-rethinking-the-dharma-for-a-secular-age



:peace:

Element
03 Sep 17, 12:45
Unless you mean "believe in Nibbana" in the same way as one might "believe" in angels or Santa Claus, I don't think that seem to be quite the case in this quote from his most recent book
Maybe Stephen changed his mind due to receiving criticism. As I said, I distinctly recall Stephen stating because Mara harassed Buddha all his life the Buddha did not quench the defilements.

Regards :peace:

Element
03 Sep 17, 12:53
Unless you mean "believe in Nibbana" in the same way as one might "believe" in angels or Santa Claus, I don't think that seem to be quite the case in this quote from his most recent book
I am trying to get to bed but I have had extended discussions with secular disciples. Here are some internet things:


The Third Noble Truth or Task is the cessation of dukkha, that there can be an ending to craving and delusion. Stephen teaches this as “Stop!” Stop being beholden to reactivity. It is taught that nirvana is the ending of greed, hatred and delusion, yet this doesn’t mean that they stop forever. Stephen also explains that the cessation of reactivity is not something we can bring about as it’s a natural part of us: just as the gall bladder produces bile, the brain secretes thoughts and, thus, reactivity.

What is necessary is that we don’t identify with these secretions. If we don’t identify with the reactivity, it dissolves more and more rapidly, allowing us more space to be present with our Buddhanature. Stephen guides us towards noticing the stopping of reactivity and to pay attention to its absence: these are moments of pure freedom when we can react without reactivity. In these moments we dwell in a place of emptiness, of letting go of views that constrain us, and, in this place, we are no longer bound by constantly trying to change our inner monologues, so fraught with anxiety and worry. When we finally accept the anxiety in our inner monologue, we accept the natural anxiety of the body and of mortality

https://www.upaya.org/2017/05/stephen-batchelor-four-noble-truths-by-john-becvar/


Note that in this light the logic of the list’s order is direct and requires no creative re-ordering.

1. The task is to fully know – on the basis of a penetrating, firsthand examination of one’s own experience of suffering – the nature of suffering as an unavoidable aspect of life’s being interdependent, co-conditioned, and impermanent.

2. To the degree that we know firsthand the truth about suffering, the natural effect of this will be our letting go of clinging and craving (i.e., a letting go of our demand for the world to permanently please us when and where we require it).

3. The natural effect of a letting go of craving will be that we will experience brief periods of time in which craving ceases altogether.

4. The natural effect of this experience will be our cultivation of a new way of life grounded in and appropriate to the truth of suffering. This new path of life is characterized by eight appropriate practices (i.e., the eightfold path).

http://progressivebuddhism.blogspot.com.au/2010/06/four-noble-tasks.html

Aloka
03 Sep 17, 13:05
I am trying to get to bed but I have had extended discussions with secular disciples



Erm..do you mean your own disciples - or disciples of secular Buddhism - or neither of those ?

:bunny:

Element
03 Sep 17, 13:06
:peace:

Here:


We talk about how orthodox this understanding of Mara is. In both Theravada and Mahayana traditions, the figure of Mara quickly became the four maras, and was turned into a theological doctrine. Most of the stories about Mara in the suttas weren't translated into Tibetan. Meanwhile, the figure of the Buddha was elevated to higher and higher degrees of perfection, as all-wise, all-loving and so on, until he was effectively dehumanised, becoming completely devoid of limiting features apart from his human body.

'But the early tradition did preserve the sense that the Buddha exists in a constant tension with this counter-image, or shadow, called Mara, which I understand as his own conflicted humanity. That leads to my point - which is not at all orthodox - that Mara never goes away. Although the Buddha achieved a certain freedom, Mara was still around, whispering in his ear. But I don't have any sense that the Buddha was troubled by this. He was subject to temptation, you might say, subject to thoughts and feelings arising in his mind that we might call "self-doubt". This self-doubt appears as a personality - there is something very consistent about Mara's voice. It reminds me of Satan's voice in Milton's Paradise Lost. It's insidious; alternately extremely self-confident then un-self-confident, swinging from arrogance to despair.'

http://www.dharmalife.com/issue25/devil.html

This might come from this: https://tricycle.org/magazine/living-devil/, which I cannot access anymore.

:blow:

Aloka
03 Sep 17, 13:23
Oh that's quite weird isn't it. I've always though of Mara as being the personification of one's own negativity. However, the Buddha, as an enlightened being, was said to be free of greed, hatred and delusion, so how could he have "self -doubt" ?

:confused:

Aloka
03 Sep 17, 14:48
I don't think these remarks are actually providing anything useful for the development of a reasoned discussion.

Why? There is a video you can watch. Brahmali seems speaking about a metaphysical rebirth & Stephen is denying rebirth. Both are asserting something they cannot know. Neither is speaking about what is known or knowable. It was merely a mass-market exercise to me, each appealing to their respective audience, neither speaking the truth.


I know there's a video of them. Personally I don't consider myself a follower of either Bhikkhu Brahmali or Stephen Batchelor, but I don't see any value in making rude public comments about them, such as comparing them to an old fashioned comedy act ...even if its thought privately.


:washing:

Genecanuck
03 Sep 17, 17:54
Hi there, it seems that, in this forum, and elsewhere, hardcore Buddhists feel threatened by his thinking, rather than looking at what he says with an open mind. I, for one, like his basic premise that Buddhism is living in the here and now, applying the teachings in every day life.

Thoughts?

I am no expert in Buddhism, but I thought that one of the fundamental truths is that it is all about "lived experience". If one cannot experience a practice as real in the here and now, it is simply an abstract concept.

I must read more about Stephen Batchelor to understand where he his coming from.

Cheers

Gene

lisehull
03 Sep 17, 23:33
I am no expert in Buddhism, but I thought that one of the fundamental truths is that it is all about "lived experience". If one cannot experience a practice as real in the here and now, it is simply an abstract concept.

I must read more about Stephen Batchelor to understand where he his coming from.

Cheers

Gene

There are some excellent videos with Stephen Batchelor on Youtube!

Polar Bear
04 Sep 17, 07:44
I've thought that some his talks on dharmaseed were interesting. Specifically his talks on nama-rupa and consciousness with regard to upanisadic notions and one of his talks on an interpretation of the Buddha's awakening. See here if interested http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/169/

But I think he is perhaps a bit caught up in a form of intellectual dishonesty reflecting the same sorts of cognitive bias that one might find in a religious person unwilling to take a serious look at evidence contrary to their beliefs. He should learn to provide his own "updated" Buddhism without engaging in the kind of pseudo-scholarship that pretends he's discovered the real Buddha behind the texts as we have them.

I imagine he's helped some people though so that's good.

:hands: