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Buddha, Mara, and the Question of Evil with Stephen Batchelor


Sunday, October 15, 2017
4:00 PM–5:30 PM

Prominent Buddhist thinker Stephen Batchelor talks about the philosophy and psychology of good and evil through the figure of Mara, the Buddhist equivalent of the Devil. Having overcome Mara in his struggle for awakening, Gotama (Siddhartha Gautama) nonetheless continues to engage with him until the very end of his life.

Mara symbolizes the obstacles in the way of our becoming wholly human and fully alive. Drawing on a wide range of sources, from early Buddhist discourses to the poetry of Dante and Baudelaire, Batchelor will explore the complexity of this archetype and its continuing relevance across cultures.

The figure of Mara has informed Batchelor’s work for many years: from his book Living with the Devil (Riverhead, 2004) to his libretto MARA: A Chamber Opera, the first full concert performance of which will be held at the Rubin Museum on both Wednesday, October 18 and Friday, October 20.

This program is co-presented with Tricycle Magazine.


About Stephen Batchelor

Stephen Batchelor is a writer and teacher known for his secular approach to Buddhism. Born in 1953, he was ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of twenty and spent ten years training in the Tibetan Geluk and Korean SÅn orders. Since disrobing he has been engaged 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. In particular, he regards Buddhism as an evolving culture of awakening, not a system of unchanging doctrines, and considers some traditional Buddhist concepts such as rebirth and karma to be relics of ancient Indian civilization rather than essential teachings.

Since 1986, he has taught at Gaia House meditation center in Devon, England.Ӭ In 2015 he co-founded Bodhi College, a European educational project dedicated to the understanding and application of early Buddhism. He is the author of the bestselling Buddhism without Beliefs (Riverhead). His most recent publications are After Buddhism and Secular Buddhism (Yale University Press). He travels worldwide to lecture and lead retreats and lives in southwest France with his wife, Martine.

Mara Talk:$20.00

Mara Performance: $25.00