The Wright Show After Buddhism

Robert Wright (, The Evolution of God, Nonzero, Why Buddhism Is True) and Stephen Batchelor (stephenbatchelor.orgAfter Buddhism)


Sceptical Buddhism as Provenance and Project – by James Mark Shields, Bucknell University

James Mark Shields (Bucknell University)
Sceptical Buddhism as Provenance and Project
In his 2015 publication After Buddhism, Stephen Batchelor makes a strong case for reviving what he calls a “secular Buddhism,” rooted in the “skeptical voice” of early Buddhism as found throughout the Pali Canon, one that “refuses to be drawn into affirming or negating an opinion, into making ontological assertions, or into asserting anything as ultimately true or real. The sage chooses to suspend judgment rather than get involved in disputes.…” (22). While sympathetic to Batchelor’s thesis – one that resonates
with the subjects of my own scholarly work – this paper examines the links between “secular,” “critical,” “sceptical,” and “radical” Buddhism, in order to flesh out a genealogy as well as possibilities in thinking Buddhism anew as a 21st-century “project” with philosophical, ethical, and political resonance. In particular, I am motivated by the question of whether “sceptical” Buddhism can coexist with Buddhist praxis, conceived as an engaged response to ameliorate the suffering of sentient beings.

Buddhism and Scepticism: Historical, Philosophical and Comparative Perspectives

From their earliest stages, Buddhist traditions have displayed a sceptical attitude towards various types of accepted knowledge. Buddhist thinkers, beginning from the historical Buddha, questioned metaphysical assumptions, the realistic view of the world, and the reliability of our sources of knowledge, and expressed doubt about common social norms and religious views. In this way, philosophical scepticism played a pivotal role in the way Buddhist thought evolved. It served both as a method for arriving at a reliable and liberating understanding of reality and, as some argue, as an aspect of spiritual practice.

The conference on Buddhism and Scepticism investigates the place of scepticism in the development of classical Buddhist thought from historical and philosophical perspectives. From a historical standpoint, the conference explores the development of sceptical strategies in Buddhism and their relation to non-Buddhist systems of thought in Europe and Asia. From a philosophical point of view, it explores the ways in which sceptical arguments are used in
Buddhist philosophical works, and how they resemble, and differ from, sceptical methods in other, non-Buddhist philosophies.

Convenor: Oren Hanner (Universität Hamburg/Germany)


Care and Uncertainty Don’t Sit Terribly Happily Next to Truth and Certainty* Concerning our Lives and Worklives

“An Ethics of Care” by Stephen Batchelor – Talk 10 of 15

As a practice care is much about doing and knowing-how to do it. Whereas the concept of truth is often understood as a (priviledged) knowledge or a deep insight into the final answer of what reality and this world is about.

At heart this talk is about how we can understand, practice and embody a life which cares for … . Enjoy this insightful, heart and mind opening talk.

*In following Stephen Batchelor I changed his wording slightly in the title.

Please go to the Upaya Website for listening to the other talks and making a donation if you loved what you listened to.

Upaya Zen Center – talks about “An Ethics of Care”

Talk About the Basic Needs of Our Soul*

… and the immediacy of the need for security because of appearing dogs 😉 while meditating in nature at the Acropolis of Rhodes (Monte Smith).


* The source models of the basic needs are taken from Johan Galtung and Klaus Eidenschink

“An Ethics of Care” – What are you caring for in your life?

Every moment can be a moment of care … care for yourself or other sentient beings and for the place you currently inhabit.

This is the 2nd out of 15 talks about “An Ethics of Care” given by Stephen Batchelor at the Upaya Zen Center in July 2017.

Enjoy this talk

Please go to the Upaya Website for listening to the other talks and making a donation if you loved what you listened to.

Upaya Zen Center – talks about “An Ethics of Care”