While the doctrines of early Buddhism were pragmatic, skeptical and humanistic it did not take long for Buddhism to acquire the familiar trappings of an organized religion. Just a few hundred years after the Buddha's death many of his followers began to teach that the Buddha was not an ordinary human but rather a supernatural being living in a celestial realm. Mahayana Buddhists believed that they too could acquire supernatural powers by earning merit and becoming Bodhisattvas. How did Buddhism stray so far from the teachings of its founder? What happens when western converts to Buddhism start to question its metaphysical assumptions? Stephen Batchelor, former Buddhist monk and author of "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist", answers these questions and makes the case that Buddhism must become secularized if it is to remain relevant in our modern world.
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