Stephen Batchelor talks about Confession of a Buddhist Atheist.
According to Batchelor, the outlook of the Buddha was far removed from the religiosity that has come to define much of Buddhism as we know it today. He argues that the Buddha was a man more focused on life in this world than the afterlife.
Confession of a Buddhist Atheist is a personal account of the author’s thirty-eight year engagement with Buddhism. The first part of the book (Monk) follows the author’s journey from his departure from England at the age of 18, his first meeting with the Dalai Lama in 1972, his six years training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, his disillusion with the Tibetan tradition and departure for a three year Zen training as a monk in South Korea.
The second part (Layman) recounts the author’s return to lay life in Europe and focuses on his quest to find out who was Siddhattha Gotama, the historic Buddha, and discover what is truly distinctive in his teaching. This quest interweaves reflections on early Buddhist doctrine, a journey through modern India to visit the sacred sites of Buddhism, and a detailed reconstruction of the Buddha’s life on the basis of the Pali Canon.