Stephen Batchelor: ''It's important to live thruth as a virtue; to lead a truthful, honest life.''


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In this English episode of the Club Groeneveld podcast ‘Terug naar de natuur’ (Back to Nature), Louis Bijl de Vroe has a conversation with Stephen Batchelor. Stephen is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. Stephen considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs.

Stephen was born in Scotland in 1953 and after completing Grammar School, he travelled overland to India at the age of eighteen.

He settled in Dharamsala, the capital-in-exile of the Dalai Lama, where he studied Buddhist philosophy. After becoming a Buddhist monk, he continued his studies in various countries before settling in France where he has lived since 2000. There he pursues his work as a scholar, writer and artist. For several months each year, he travels worldwide to lead meditation retreats and teach Buddhism. He is the translator and author of various books and articles on Buddhism including the bestselling ‘Buddhism Without Beliefs’ and ‘Confession of a Buddhist Atheist.’ His most recent publication is ‘The Art of Solitude’ which came out just before the Covid crisis hit.

In our conversation we talk about:

  • The importance of realigning oneself with the natural world.
  • The different ways of experiencing life, be it skimming over the surface or finding a depth within. your experience that allows you to get to grips with the core questions of who you are.
  • About rediscovering the mysterious and how philosophy begins in wonder.
  • The difficult question of how to know what is right and just.
  • The ultimate importance of life not in an abstract sense, but in a concrete sense – or: the question how to actually lead a good life.
  • About finding out that it is the process that matters, the constant process of learning which requires humility, openness and a sense of humour.
  • The fact that, in a sense, the more you know, the less you know.

Special thanks to Stephen Batchelor, Marcel Tjepkema, Martien Groenendijk, Joost Brands, Deborah Huisman, Lonneke Rhodens, Jelte Vredenbregt and Noa van Benthem.


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