I was not denying the validity of the Buddha's teaching and I accept the testimony of sages from many traditions. I do indeed believe that these experiences may indeed be 'veridical' to use the technical term. What I am getting at is the implications of the word 'experience', because the experience in question is definitely not within the ambit of what all would agree as 'ordinary experience'. If you get into the realm of 'extraordinary experience' of course there are many possibilities but I don't think there is a cultural consensus as to what might these might be in the West.
As regards 'supernatural', certainly it is a word that sets off alarm bells and perhaps I should have refrained from using it. However, speaking as a Buddhist, I can assure you that right from the outset the Buddha's realisation of Nirvana is understood as 'lokuttara' - meaning 'supramundane, exceeding ordinary perception, beyond mere logic and reason, perceptible only by the enlightened', and many other such descriptors. While it is perfectly true that Buddhism is pragmatic and non-authoritarian, the transcendental dimension is an implicit factor from the outset. Certainly the Buddha is not a deity but he is also not an ordinary human being and while, as I have said elsewhere, 'dharma' is not the same as 'religion', it is essentially religious in some respects.
As regards Batchelor, I have read several of his books and seen him lecture. In my view, his attitude is more typical of an academic than a practitioner. I acknowledge that he is a learned scholar and has wide experience. However he sacrifices a great deal of what is essential to the teaching so that it might be easier to assimilate into the secular worldview. This is why his book was judged very harshly by many Buddhists, with one reviewer saying:
There is an urgent need to interpret and present these teachings to the modern west. This "Buddhism Without Beliefs" has sorely failed to do. The prescription of this book amounts to an abandonment of the traditional Dharma and the transformation of Buddhism into a psychotherapy, which like all psychotherapies, has no goal higher than "ordinary misery." This is a Buddhism without fruition, without a Third Noble Truth. Ven Punnadhamma Bikkhu
Basically, the idea that Buddhism is a form of rational humanism is a myth. Certainly its principles can be much more easily adapted to a humanistic framework than can Christian dogma, but the 'world-transcending' nature of the Buddha is essential to its meaning.
although I do now note that this discussion has veered wildly away from its original topic.:bigsmile: