Stephen Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. Stephen considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. In particular, he regards the doctrines of karma and rebirth to be features of ancient Indian civilization and not intrinsic to what the Buddha taught. Buddhism has survived for the past 2,500 years because of its capacity to reinvent itself in accord with the needs of the different Asian societies with which it has creatively interacted throughout its history. As Buddhism encounters modernity, it enters a vital new phase of its development. Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism's role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer.
Currently he is also involved with the Bodhi College, a European educational centre for meditative learning, critical examination and practical cultivation of the Dharma as found in the early strata of Buddhist texts. Bodhi College aspires to recover core insights of early Buddhist teachings in order to develop fresh ways of understanding the Dharma today. It seeks to provide a contemplative education that inspires students to realize the values of the Dharma in the context of this secular age and culture. In the spirit of Buddha’s teaching Bodhi College is committed to a middle way of human awakening that integrates theory with practice, while encouraging both personal fulfillment and social engagement.