Stephen Batchelor's Background (08:24)
Batchelor joins Professor Owen Flanagan onstage at the Rubin Museum of Art in 2010. Batchelor outlines his experiences with Tibetan and Zen Buddhist traditions, and describes his crisis of faith.
Humanizing Buddha (07:58)
The iconography of Buddhism increasingly depicts the Buddha as a godlike figure. Batchelor finds the idea of re-humanizing him to be inspiring. There is no real meaning to Buddhism unless it contributes in a transformative way to the practitioner's experiences in this life.
Four Noble Truths (05:25)
Batchelor describes the Four Noble Truths that are at the heart of Buddhist teaching. Practitioners learn to embrace suffering, let go of craving, and stop grasping and act by following the Eightfold Path to transforming their lives.
Role of Meditation (06:30)
Flanagan alludes to “The Sound of Two Hands Clapping” by Georg Dreyfus, which describes life in a Tibetan monastery. Batchelor highlights the importance of meditation practice that allows practitioners to become more calm and focused.
Pursuit of Happiness (12:00)
Buddhist meditation practice can help heal depression and contribute to happiness. Batchelor’s goal is to arrive at a clearer understanding of what it means to be human.
Buddha as a Radical (02:50)
Batchelor believes Buddha was a radical of his time because he espoused a practice that brought followers into a closer, more intimate and challenging relationship with the world. It is unclear whether he believed in reincarnation.
Social Order (06:01)
Despite Buddha's criticism, the caste system remains entrenched in India. People should be judged according to deeds. It is equally important to respond to the suffering of others as it is to respond to the suffering of the individual. (Credits)
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