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Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 2014 - Dhamma Wheel

Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 2014

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
plwk
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Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 2014

Postby plwk » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:40 am



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.

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Kasina
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby Kasina » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:47 am

"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

"You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go... This is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life..."

Wilbur Mercer in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Kasina
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby Kasina » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:35 am

It seems that no matter how many times people explain these things to Batchelor, he doesn't understand...
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

"You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go... This is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life..."

Wilbur Mercer in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Jeffrey
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby Jeffrey » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:09 am

Thanks for posting this. I've been laying about sick for a couple of days, a good chance to watch this without feeling like I should be out doing something else.

Not much of a debate really. Each time the microphone was passed off, one or the other said, "I agree with you," except at the end when Batchelor took exception to being characterized as someone who easily dismissed rebirth. For my money the debate went to Batchelor, who has obviously spent many hours discussing and defending his ideas. In comparison the Ajahn seemed ill-prepared and repeated himself once too often. In fact, Batchelor seemed the more open, probing intellectual, while the Ajahn appeared pinned down and unable to adequately explain the practical ramifications of an agnostic position on rebirth.

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:34 am

I watched this on the uposatha and actually thought Ajahn Brahmali was more convincing than Batchelor but that may be indicative more of my own views than anything else. I encourage anyone who has not watched it and has a pare hour or two to give it a go.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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fivebells
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby fivebells » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:32 pm

Are you kidding? Batchelor wasted him, making him look like an ignorant, dogmatic bigot. It was a completely unfair contest.

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daverupa
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:01 pm

Are there any transcripts available?

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:47 pm

To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:
My Practice Blog:

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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:54 pm

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.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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daverupa
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:00 pm


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fivebells
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby fivebells » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:03 pm


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Mr Man
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby Mr Man » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:59 am

Batchelor came across as the practitioner. Ajahn Brahmali as not really being willing or able to investigate and being more keen on shoring up a belief system.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:31 am

Intially, I was not going to listen/watch this, but after doing so, in my opinion Batchelor comes across far better than does Ven Brahmali, whom I think was in over his head in this discussion.

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fivebells
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby fivebells » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:01 am

Yeah, it would be great to see the same debate between Batchelor and some more thoughtful, pragmatic representative of Thai Forest practice.

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Anagarika
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby Anagarika » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:37 am

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.

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.

Jeffrey
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby Jeffrey » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:44 pm

The Ajahn didn't claim to have seen rebirth himself, only to accept it as something that must be true since it was taught by the Buddha. If I had been there, I would have liked to have asked, what is the real life consequence? If I practice long enough and deep enough, presumably, I will too will see and understand rebirth. Until then, are there any negative effects to holding to an agnostic position? Why is one less a Buddhist when neither has yet experienced the truth of rebirth?

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tiltbillings
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:18 pm


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tiltbillings
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Re: Stephen Batchelor & Ajahn Brahmali: Melbourne Debate 201

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:21 am



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