jeeprs wrote:I think Bachelor has every right to do what he does, but the issue is that I think his view of what constitutes 'religion' and what is 'secular' is historically conditioned by Western attitudes to the meaning of religion.
Yes, this is one of the dichotomies that he and other Secular Buddhist authors rely on. Batchelor attempts to set up another arbitrary dichotomy by differentiating between "belief-based" Buddhism and "praxis-based" Buddhism. The assumption is that "belief-based" Buddhism is outdated and unable to clearly face up to the challenges of modernity or celebrate in the progress of modernity. This dichotomy implies that there's some sort of inherent tension or incompatibility between faith and practice. But this dichotomy is rather artificial. From a traditional perspective, faith and the various aspects of practice are all
qualities which are to be developed as requisites of awakening.
Also, Buddhists have been engaging with and challenging the worldviews that underlie these kinds of assumptions going all the way back to the Nikāyas/Āgamas. And this engagement is still ongoing. One example is the Mind & Life Conferences
for dialogue with cognitive scientists, psychologists, physicists, philosophers, ecologists, educators, etc. Another example is the research programs associated with the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies
. Yet another example, relating to social issues, is Buddhist Global Relief
jeeprs wrote:My beef with Secular Buddhism generally is that Buddhist teaching *is* metaphysical. Deny that it has a metaphysical dimension, you deny the teaching. The 'ending of suffering' is not about being better adjusted and feeling good about yourself. It is about awakening to a completely different dimension of reality. And I think 'secular Buddhism' denies that there can be any other dimension. In that sense, which is the sense that Herbert Marcuse meant, secular Buddhism is 'one dimensional'.
And it only offers a worldly path (laukikamārga) without a supramundane path (lokottaramārga) that leads out of saṃsāra.
jeeprs wrote:Furthermore, it is quite possible that the awakening of the Buddha is not actually 'religious' in the sense of being 'defineable in terms of ceremonial and liturgical beliefs'. I think the Buddha knows reality in a way which is not available to the natural sciences, nor to 'religion' as generally understood. It's neither. And, he says it is something that can only by known by the 'awakened human'. That assertion is unique in history, as far as I am concerned, and insisting that it is something that must be amenable to scientific analysis sells it short. The Buddha said from the outset his awakening is 'beyond mere logic'. This is not to deprecate logic and reason, but to surpass it. Logic has to fall in line with it - it can't work it out.
The notion that if one doesn't personally have empirical direct perception of certain things then this is a sufficient reason for rejecting them, is classic materialist epistemology.