Stephen Batchelor and Ven Brahmali debate the relevance of the early Buddhist texts for the modern world at event hosted by Melbourne Insight Meditation Group in conjunction with the BSV. The event took place at the Augustine Centre in Melbourne, VIC, Australia on 14 Feb 2014.
fivebells wrote:Are you kidding? Batchelor wasted him, making him look like an ignorant, dogmatic bigot. It was a completely unfair contest.
ancientbuddhism wrote:Brahmali came off as expected with his specious diatribe on rebirth agnosticism. But it was Batchelor that really surprised me. In his books, Stephen Batchelor has been difficult for me to read for his overreaching position to disprove rebirth and other Buddhist metaphysical claims. But in this debate I think he handled himself rather well by staying within a true agnostic position. I also thought Batchelor was rather gracious after Brahmali’s rebuke that he cannot consider himself a Buddhist because he does not accept rebirth.
Khalil Bodhi wrote:I felt like Batchelor never left the gate as he couldn't provide any justification for calling himself a Buddhist while simultaneously doubting the Dhamma of the Buddha at every turn.
For the monk to characterize Batchelor as not Buddhist because he did not adhere to a particular belief reflected rather badly on the bhikkhu. As noted above Batchelor came across as a Dhamma practitioner far more so than did Ven Brahmali who had very little to actually say.Jeffrey wrote: Why is one less a Buddhist when neither has yet experienced the truth of rebirth?
Have you read any of his books? The interesting thing is that Batchelor showed a better handle on the suttas than did Ven Bramali.BuddhaSoup wrote:I thought Ajahn Brahmali acquitted himself quite well. He took a Sutta based position, and for my money, that's a safe position to argue from. Reject rebirth? OK, but don't call yourself a "Buddhist," or "Gautamist." To S. Batchelor's credit, he claims he has an open mind concerning rebirth and other aspects of the Pali Sutta teachings, and for that, he gets props. To be absolutist, fundamentalist, or blind to the possibility of further evidence is neither good science or good professorial sense, and SB ends with that kind of sensibility, though his books have sold based on an agnostic ("secular Buddhism") premise that rejects some core teachings of the Buddha. Ajahn Brahmali won't sell as many books, but he's selling good old fashioned salt, while SB sells cotton candy.
sure, but that is not the only basis. Batchelor made a reasonable argument that his position was inline with the Buddha's teachings based upon the suttas.At the end of the day, how we feel about this debate is something of a litmus test for our own biases on these issues.