Stephen Batchelor recommends we take a moment to contemplate a carved image of the Buddha from eighteen hundred years ago.
The image is Indian and shows the Buddha as the sun, shining from beneath the bodhi tree.
Stephen explains his interest in this image in A Secular Buddhist, the paper he has written as an introduction to his forthcoming dialogue with secular Christian Don Cupitt. Stephen writes: “For human flourishing first stirs in that clear, bright, empty space where neurotic self-centredness realizes that it has no ground to stand on at all. One is then freed to pour forth like sunlight.“
He goes on to suggest that we might do well to “recover and practice again a solar dharma, one concerned with shedding its light (wisdom) and heat (compassion) onto and into this world, which, as far as we know, might be the only one that ever has been or ever will be.“
Stephen’s explorations of this theme have been developed in the context of his long and fruitful friendship with Don Cupitt. You can read Don’s statement ahead of their dialogue here, and you can book for the event here.
The sun-Buddha, meanwhile, can be seen in room 33 of the British Museum.
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