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Here on the Verge of Change

“Grounded in awareness of transiency, ambiguity, and contingency, such a person values lightness of touch, flexibility and adaptability, a sense of humor and adventure, appreciation of other viewpoints, a celebration of difference.” – Stephen Batchelor

Of all the philosophical and/or spiritual traditions to have filled my soul with thoughtful reflection, none quite appeases the heart than Buddhism. Even though this school of thought initially hooked my youthful appetite for imaginal or metaphysical speculation, it has been since grounded in what might be considered a more realistic and/or contemporary path to the dharma.

It is with the utmost appreciation that I now introduce Stephen Batchelor, a pioneer and leading figure to a secularist approach of understanding and embodying the ancient wisdom of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. So in this spirit, allow me to break from convention by sharing my letter sent to Stephen some 6 years ago this very month:

Hi Stephen, I am absolutely stoked with your dharma talks. You possess a genius for communication and your delivery captures the imagination and your brilliance the colour of gold.

To my delight a friend recently sent a YouTube video my way (Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism) that immediately grabbed my attention and provoked me to Google your person, which in turn allowed me to discover a treasure trove of your talks through dharmaseed!

My first exposure to Buddhism was through my high school teacher; an American draft dodger, hippie like, Zen Buddhist who enjoyed teaching his classes under a park tree. A bunch of us would also meet for meditation and teaching at his place on the weekends; however, the selected speaker was usually someone other than Buddhist and belonged to any number of spiritual traditions. Steve would regularly lend me books from various authors such as the Dalai Lama, Jack Kornfield and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Eventually started visiting various Buddhist groups in order to take my practice more seriously but found myself craving for something bigger and better. In time my wheels spun out altogether and so I walked away from it leaving my vehicle bottom up in the bog so to speak. But now and again my soul seems to find its way back there. The rusty old vehicle has sunk deep into the muddy bog but in its stead there is a flower that grows there. Its calming fragrance can be detected during those still moments of silence.

On that note my Buddha buddy, and like the sound of the gong emanating out as a way to remind, your participation in the dharma is forever beautiful in its kind.

With sincere gratitude,

Jason Youngman

About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.

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