Dharmakara wrote:Very true, Tobes. We've even started a sub-section and collection of resource material related to Batchelor at Buddha Forum, doing so with the intent to provide a safe-haven from such behavior, the declarations of what "is" or is not Buddhism by others, ect.
I suppose what's interesting about this is the question of who has the authority to assert: this is Buddhism and this is not Buddhism? And on what basis can that assertion be made?
Dharmakara wrote:The following from an academic paper entitled "A Critical Examination of the Agnostic Buddhism of Stephen Batchelor" by Majorie Silverman, Department of Religious Studies at McGill University (Montreal QC):
Secondly, Batchelor’s Buddhism is still Buddhism because he calls it such. He considers himself a Buddhist, as do other scholars and practitioners who take his work seriously. [/i]
mr. gordo wrote:Hi Dharmakara,
When you say "save haven", what does that mean? Does that mean discussion critiquing Batchelor is not given as much breathing room as discussion in favor of Batchelor?
Yeshe wrote:Is she serious?
Yeshe wrote:Then there is the sideswipe at the opposition:
'as do other scholars who take his work seriously'.
This clearly imples that anyone who does not swallow Batchelor's teachings is not a serious analyst.
Luke wrote:Yes, I also take issue with her biased language.
Her concluding sentence is:
"This pared down and exposed Buddhism is perhaps less a Buddhism without beliefs, and more a Buddhism without baggage."
This implies that she thinks that any Buddhist belief which is not featured in Batchelor's version of Buddhism is unnecessary, superfluous "baggage" of little value.
Liking Batchelor's ideas is one thing, but seeing all traditional Buddhist views as useless nonsense is another. I hope other Batchelorites don't become this radicalized.
Dharmakara wrote:Don't know if for sure if she's a Buddhist, but since it's her Master's Thesis from McGill one would assume that the study of Buddhism was of interest to her, especially with the broad variety of subjects she could have choosen from.
Of course, this by no means makes her an authority on the topic, but, when one examines her citations and primary sources for the paper, she certainly was no slacker in her research.
BTW, it's Marjorie L. Silverman... sorry for the earlier typo.
Dharmakara wrote:[Quote from Batchelor]
"The expression "Buddhism without beliefs" is not meant to suggest that beliefs are completely dispensable in every sense of the word. For example, if one is doing a practice, one still has to believe that it has value—that it's worthwhile, that it's worth sitting on a cushion—and that is definitely one form of belief. But the way I'm mainly using the word "belief," as you've correctly understood, is to address the idea that the practice of Buddhism is somehow contingent upon buying into certain metaphysical beliefs. We may or may not think of such beliefs as superstitious, but they usually are views of the world that we are expected to accept on the basis of a kind of blind devotion or faith, without actually having any experience of our own on the basis of which to accept or reject them. So "Buddhism without dogma" would perhaps be more precise. I don't think it really matters, you see, what one's metaphysical views are because the practice of Buddhism, as I try to make clear in the book, is to my mind a practice of freeing ourselves from certain psychological delusions. "
Kyosan wrote:I think that people shouldn't be offended by the word "baggage". There's a famous analogy that, if I'm not mistaken, comes from Zen. It says that Buddhism is like a raft used to get from one shore to another. When you reach the other shore you wouldn't want to carry the raft on your back. This analogy clearly means that even Buddhism itself (or at least your conception of Buddhism while you were crossing the river) is dispensable.
mr. gordo wrote:But it seems as though Western Buddhist apologists want it both ways. They want their cake and to eat it too. They attempt to disguise their writings as a form of upaya, but instead of referencing scripture or commentary, they reference scientific materialism. They seem so eager to redefine and re-appropriate everything that is not in Buddhism into labeling it as something that is. It’s no different than a Christian who says “I’m a Christian, but I don’t believe in the resurrection”. The entire edifice comes falling down.
Dharmakara wrote:Yeshe, should it not also be noted that Walpola Rahula took an anti-metaphysical approach, albeit a different methodology as undertaken by Batchelor, but with a similar intent?
Maybe a more import question is when did "metaphysical" and "anti-metaphysical" become dirty words for either side of the debate or a deal breaker when it comes to the beneficial nature of Dharma practice?