Early Buddhism and the Existential Dilemma

Non-residential weekend course with Stephen Batchelor and John Peacock

3 & 4 November 2018: St Luke’s Community Centre, London, EC1V 8AJ
Please note that this course will be filmed.  It is unlikely that the students will be in shot however please contact Bodhi College if you would like to make sure or ask any questions. 

This course will explore the parallels – and differences – between approaches to the core questions of human existence as found in the teachings of Gotama in the discourses of the Pali Canon and the works of Western philosophers from the ancient Greeks until modern times.

While the Buddhist materials will be drawn primarily from early source texts, we will consider Western thinkers as diverse as Socrates, Epicurus, Marcus Aurelius, Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Rorty and Foucault. The emphasis will be on how all these thinkers have sought to develop a practical philosophy that comes to terms with our concrete existence in the world as opposed to metaphysical theories about essences or absolutes. Through a critical conversation between the two traditions, we hope that the insights of the Buddha may shed light on the existential concerns of the West and how Western philosophers might help illuminate the teachings of the Dharma.


STEPHEN BATCHELOR is a Buddhist teacher and writer known for his secular or agnostic approach to the Dharma. Formerly a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions, he is the translator and author of several books including Buddhism Without Beliefs, Living with the Devil and Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist. His most recent book, After Buddhism, was published by Yale University Press in 2015. He lives in southwest France with his wife Martine.

John PeacockJOHN PEACOCK is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly forty years. Trained initially in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in India, he subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada. He lectured in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, is Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and teaches on the Master of Studies programme in MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University. John has been teaching meditation for more than twenty five years and is a Gaia House guiding teacher.

Event Details

  • Non-residential course
  • All teachings are offered on a dana basis
  • Suitable for those new to Dharma teachings
  • Overnight accommodation is not included.
  • Should you need to stay overnight please contact the Bodhi College Coordinator – admin@nullbodhi-college.org for details of nearby hotels.
  • A vegetarian lunch and daytime tea and coffee are included
  • Full payment required on booking (Deposits cannot be taken for retreats under 5 days in length)
  • A limited number of Bursary places are available for this course.
  • Please read the Booking Conditions before booking
  • Early Buddhism and the Existential Dilemma
    November 3, 2018 - November 4, 2018
    10:00 am - 4:30 pm
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Venue Phone: 020 7549 8181

Venue Website:

90 Central Street, London, EC1V 8AJ, United Kingdom


St Luke’s is a  modern Community Centre which offers a range of flexible events spaces, perfect for our weekend courses. St Luke’s takes pride in keeping its Centre well-decorated and clean. It is located just off Old Street, EC1, close to the City of London and three tube stations – Old Street, Barbican and Angel.





Our course will be held in the Garden Room

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