buddhism Newsletter


March 24 2010 Buddhism Newsletter

Hi all,

My new article for this week is a review of Stephen Batchelor's Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. You may be familiar with his prior book, Buddhism Without Beliefs, which triggered debate in the Buddhist community about whether or not a belief in rebirth was intrinsic to being Buddhist.

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist - Review
In Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, author Stephen Batchelor recounts his experiences as a Tibetan and then Korean Zen monk, his research into the Buddha's life, and how he has come to be a 'secular Buddhist', with an agnostic position towards the doctrine of rebirth.

I have started a thread in the forum related to this, about Faith vs. Experience:

The sutta for this week is taken from the above book. It is a section of the Kalama sutta, the Buddha's teachings on recognizing truth:

"It is proper for you...to doubt, to be uncertain...Do not go upon what has been heard by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a sacred teaching; nor upon surmise; nor upon axium; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias toward a notion that has been pondered over...nor upon the consideration 'this monk is our teacher'...When you know for yourselves: these things are bad, these thing are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill; then abandon them."

In Peace,
Lisa Erickson
Buddhism Editor

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