When Stephen Batchelor first self-identified as a secular Buddhist in 2012 he said that ‘I see the aim of Buddhist practice to be the moment-to-moment flourishing of human life within the ethical framework of the eightfold path.’
A conversation between David Loy and Bernat Font – David Loy was born into a US Navy family and as a child travelled far and wide with his family. He ‘dropped out’ and in Hawaii started to practice zen Buddhism. His first teacher was Robert Aitken and later, he practiced with Yamada Roshi. From philosophy to zen is not such a big jump, reading D.T. Suzuki or Alan Watts, but the difficult thing he found was to practice, to sit.
Working as a nurse with terminally ill people, Sophie Boyer discovered meditation. After several long retreats, she became a Buddhist nun but disrobed a couple of years later, finding that disrobing came with more challenges than she expected. Born in France in 1972, Sophie is a student of Martine Batchelor.
It’s hard to find a quiet cafe in McLeod Ganj, but we did. Likewise, it is difficult to find someone like Karma Yeshe Rabgye. It might not seem strange nowadays to hear a Western Buddhist say you don’t need to believe in rebirth to practice the dharma, that nirvana or enlightenment is not his goal, and that he practices for this life. It is, however, uncommon to hear such words from someone in the red robes of a Kagyu Tibetan monk.