After Buddhism : Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age by Stephen Batchelor
AFTER BUDDHISM: RETHINKING THE DHARMA FOR A SECULAR AGE by Stephen Batchelor
This book is an attempt to synthesize an understanding of Buddhism that I have been working toward since my first publication, Alone with Others, appeared in 1983. In the intervening thirty years I have published a number of other writings that have branched off in different directions but maintained, at least in the eyes of the author, a steady focus on a single question: What does it mean to practice the dharma of the Buddha in the context of modernity? My most recent publication, the essay “A Secular Buddhism” (2012), can be seen as a preparatory sketch of what I seek to flesh out in this book.
I am indebted to Geshe Tamdrin Rabten for training me in Tibetan Buddhist logic, epistemology, and philosophy, which provided the intellectual foundations for everything I have done since; Satya Narayan Goenka for introducing me to the practice of vipassana and the early Buddhism of the Pali Canon; and Kusan Sunim for instructing me in the practice of Korean Son (Zen), which, together with mindful awareness, continues as the basis for my practice of meditation. While all of these Buddhist traditions have played an important role in my understanding and practice of the dharma, my interpretations of certain Buddhist doctrines may strike some readers as highly unorthodox.
My primary authority for understanding what the Buddha taught is the discourses of the Pali Canon. My inability to read Chinese is the only reason I have not consulted the comparable body of texts preserved in the Agama literature. The early records of the Son Buddhist tradition, composed during the Tang dynasty of China, likewise serve as an important source for my work. For the later Indian tradition, I have been inspired by the writings of Nagarjuna and Santideva.
l. AFTER BUDDHISM
2. MAHANAMA: THE CONVERT
3. A FOURFOLD TASK
4. PASENADI: THE KING
5. LETTING GO OF TRUTH
6. SUNAKKHATTA: THE TRAITOR
8. JIVAKA: THE DOCTOR
9. THE EVERYDAY SUBLIME
10. ANANDA: THE ATTENDANT
11. A CULTURE OF AWAKENING