Foreword to After Buddhism – a workbook

by Stephen Batchelor •

After Buddhism: rethinking the dharma for a secular age is the culmination of more than forty years’ study and practice of the Buddha’s teaching. The book weaves together various ideas and themes that have engaged me as a practitioner and writer throughout this time. 

This process has been an ongoing struggle to articulate the dharma in a contemporary language stripped of the metaphysical and cosmological views of ancient India. It has likewise been a continuous attempt to divest the dharma of the trappings of dogma and priestly authority that continue to characterise the Buddhist religion. 

In hindsight, I see this work as part of a wider movement towards an unashamedly secular vision of what the Buddha taught.

Stephen Batchelor in Wellington, November 2010,   with Lloyd Geering

Stephen Batchelor in Wellington, November 2010, with Lloyd Geering

I am most grateful to Winton Higgins for developing and teaching his study course on After Buddhism, which has now resulted in this workbook. I hope that this volume will not only deepen your understanding of what After Buddhism is about, but also encourage you to examine the text critically, thereby enabling you to become ‘independent of others’ in your own practice of being human. 

Many thanks also to Jim Champion for contributing the discussion questions and to The Tuwhiri Project for making this book available.

Stephen Batchelor 
Aquitaine, April 2018