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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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 that 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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The four noble truths – an online study course

In this six-week online programme, participants will explore in depth this foundational framework of the Buddha’s teaching from the perspective of early Buddhism. Drawing on the discourses of the Pali canon rather than later commentarial texts, emphasis will be given to the application of these teachings in today’s world. Equal attention will be given to the contemplative and ethical practice of these four truths.

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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 […]

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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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What if I’m doing it wrong?

Have you ever thought ‘What if I’m doing it wrong?’ We’ve all had that feeling when learning something new. This is no less true when the new activity is meditation.

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