The secular Buddha, what it means to be radicalised

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4 people went


How do you get the most benefit from the time you spend meditating? Okay, it’s clear that meditation is important in your life – in some way you’ve been changed by the practice.

If you want to know why you should deepen your practice, take a little time to look at some of the ideas behind what you’re doing. This may, in turn, inform what you do with your life in quite radical ways, providing you with very real benefit.

The afternoon
Will start with a talk by the British Buddhist teacher Stephen Batchelor ( given at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe titled The Secular Buddha, What it Means to be Radicalised and follow this with a conversation. If you would like to listen to the talk beforehand, download it here ( and please bring along two or three questions for the discussion.

In this talk
Stephen sets out his life as a Buddhist as a series of radicalisations. In his first radicalisation, as a monk in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition, he attempted to transport himself wholesale into the internally consistent world of Tibetan Buddhism.

In a distinct shift of emphasis, he then practised for four years in a Korean Son (or Zen) hall, asking himself the question ‘What is this?’, absorbing the lesson that at the root of all experience, fundamentally we don’t know what’s going on.

In his most recent radicalisation, the radical ‘secularism’ in early Buddhist texts has deeply shaped his thinking. Here Stephen talks about ‘secular’ in a deeper than usual sense – meaning of this age, of this world. ‘Indeed,’ he asks, ‘when the needs of this life and this planet impinge so vividly, so indubitably upon us, might sinking our energies into speculations about other realms and future lives border on the immoral?’

And then
Our afternoon together will end with an afternoon tea, so please bring food & drink to share.

There’s plenty of room at the Quaker Centre for everyone who wants to take part, but do please click on the red box with the word ‘Yes’ and let us know if you’re interested in coming along.