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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
winter 2015 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 73 F or over three decades, Stephen Batchelor has been the best-known expo- nent of an unapologetically modernist vision of buddhadharma. In such popular and controversial works as Alone with others, Faith to Doubt, Buddhism Without Beliefs, and Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, he has promoted an approach to Buddhism that dispenses with metaphysics (including rebirth), miracles, or any hint of the transcendent. He regards the Buddha as an ordinary man who happened to teach an extraordinary way to overcome human problems, the dharma as a secular, pragmatic, and ethical basis for human flourishing here and now, and the sangha as a community of men and women, monastics and laypeople, who support each other’s efforts regardless of social or spiritual status. Batchelor’s views have resonated with many contemporary Buddhists who feel that his humanistic and pragmatic view of the Buddha and his dharma is pre- cisely what’s needed in the current cultural and historical situation. Just as often, though, he has been criticized by traditionalists for blithely dismissing 2,500 years of thought, practice, and institutional life while remaining uncritical of the ideolo- gies and institutions of modernity to which he would have Buddhism conform. reviews batchelor’s buddha review by roger Jackson roger r. Jackson is John W. nason Professor of asian studies and religion at carleton college in northfield, Minnesota. he is coeditor of Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars and of the Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies. sourceuknown