Welcome to this course, developed and taught by Stephen Batchelor
‘“After Buddhism and Beyond” was the title of a twelve-session live online course I taught over two semesters during the coronavirus pandemic from February 13 to June 26, 2021. Organised by Bodhi College, it was attended by more than two hundred people from around the world. Each three-hour session was comprised of two thirty-minute seminars, both of which were followed by Zoom breakout groups and an open discussion. Students also met in study-groups between the sessions and participated in an online forum.
Those who attended the course were expected to be familiar with my book After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age (Yale University Press, 2015), and to share an interest in the on-going project of articulating a Secular Dharma for our times. While the first semester (Seminars 1-12) largely revisited material from After Buddhism, the second semester (Seminars 13-24) focused on my current writing, which further developed some of the key ideas introduced in After Buddhism. When the course began in February 2021, I referred to this work-in-progress as An Ethics of Uncertainty. By the time the course finished in June, I had retitled it Gotama, Socrates and Us. I still do not know when this book will be published or under what title.
Now that After Buddhism and Beyond is available as a self-study course, I have put together a workbook, which includes most of my lecture notes for the course as well as selected passages from the book-in-progress. I have also included at the end of each seminar the question I gave to the original participants for discussion in their breakout groups.
The Appendices at the end of the workbook include material that was sent to the original participants as preparation for the course. Here you will find a complete list of the “Thirty-Two Dimensions of Awakening”; my essay A Secular Buddhism, which was my first attempt to define a secular approach to the dharma; a brief overview of the history and structure of the Pali Canon; and “Selected Discourses from the Pali Canon”, which is also included as an appendix to After Buddhism.
I hope you enjoy this course!’