What the heck … ? ‽ !

◼︎ THE intention of this website is to encourage face-to-face and online conversation around the kinds of practices that might constitute a 21st century approach to the Buddha’s teachings, and a flow of ideas around them, and to support the creation of secular dharma practice community, in whatever forms this may take.

◼︎ A SECULAR approach to Buddhism has been emerging over a number of years. Looking into the early texts to retrieve the original inspiration of Gotama – the man we know as the Buddha – this approach suggests that we bypass the monastic add-ons that since the Buddha’s death have obscured the original teachings, and re-root the practice in the context of modern western ways of life and thought.

◼︎ FOCUSING largely on the practice of meditation and Gotama’s four great tasks (downgraded to ‘The Four Noble Truths’), a secular dharma offers a framework for a more mindful and compassionate life. Awakening in the context in which we find ourselves, this framework is in essence a pragmatic programme for human flourishing that has no use for metaphysical beliefs and religious truth-claims.

◼︎ YOU ARE encouraged to take part in this conversation by reading through this website, becoming a member and adding a comment or three, and by signing up for our newsletter.

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Establishing a meditation practice

Meditation is simple, but not easy. As secular Buddhists we have a simple, valuable practice which we believe will be of benefit but one that is also not at all easy to do, and one that is not at all easy for many meditators to establish. None of us are practicing in a monastic environment, where meditation is scheduled into the daily routine and expert guidance is at hand. So what can we do to help establish a regular practice of meditation? In this article I make the analogy with another practice that I’ve been working to establish.

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Dissolving the secular–faith divide

In June this year the Elijah Interfaith Institute launched a project called Make Friends in which 31 faith leaders signed up to a joint statement. Any initiative whose aim is to promote greater understanding between people of different backgrounds must be applauded, and having people of faith engage in conversations with each other seems an ambitious approach, but perhaps not sufficiently so. Why does the Elijah Institute not extend its vision to include building bridges with the people of no faith?

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Meditation in Invercargill

I would like to announce my intention to get a new meditation group together later this year in Invercargill. My personal circumstances are now such that facilitating a meditation group down here is once again viable. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to contact me.

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Secular Buddhism and the the Politics of Decency

Is this talk – for you – a good expression of a contemporary secular Buddhist approach to political and social issues?

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Buddhism and Humanism – is there a conflict?

The question is whether ‘awakening’ in Buddhism has anything supernatural or distinctly ‘religious’ about it, or whether it is a natural capacity that can be understood in the light of evolutionary biology and cognitive science. For some people this dilemma is not of any interest because they come down so firmly on one side of the question, however for me it remains difficult to think clearly about whether or not Buddhism should be called a ‘religion’.

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Kookaburra Sangha – Australia’s newest secular Buddhist community

A new insight meditation sangha has formed in Sydney’s inner-western suburbs, naming itself the Kookaburra Sangha to evoke a spot of dharma joy. On Monday 1 May, the sangha started to meet weekly at the Genki Centre, 1 Arundel St, Glebe (just across the road from Sydney Uni), and will meet there each Monday from 7–9pm.

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Conscious listening: meditating on sounds

In this blog post I describe a simple formal practice of meditation on sounds, why it might be something that you should engage with, and how the experience went for me this morning when I practiced it.

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Winton Higgins’ week in Wellington

Visiting Wellington from Sydney at the end of April 2017, Winton Higgins has a busy week ahead of him.

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The Facebook Sutta (SN 57.1)

Thus have I imagined. At one time, the Fortunate One was staying in Silicon Valley. There, he addressed the bhikkhus thus: ‘Bhikkhus.’ ‘Venerable sir,’ they replied. ‘These things should not be cultivated with regards to Facebook by one gone forth. Which things? Thoughts of greed, thoughts of aversion, ignorance of filter bubbles. One who has entered the eightfold path does not engage in individuality-view posting, nor crave for likes, nor has the conceit “I share”.

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Introduction to secular dharma – a study group

What is secular Buddhism, or a secular dharma? Recently, Wellington’s secular dharma practice community, One Mindful Breath, ran a successful study group which investigated this question. This is what we did.

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