What the heck … ? ‽ !

◼︎ A SECULAR approach to Buddhism has been developing 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 his 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 religious truth-claims and metaphysical beliefs.

◼︎ 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.

◼︎ 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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Not-self and the narcissism epidemic

Western countries accord their citizens the freedom to practise the religion of their choice. But also as harbingers of the narcissism epidemic, they give Buddhists an extra incentive to practise ardently, in order to remain in good non-narcissistic health and so live skilful, fulfilling lives – including the nurturing of deep relationships.

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Did Gotama intend to start a religion?

These two questions were posted to an online interactive session with Stephen Batchelor during a Bodhi College course in December 2016.

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Democratic secular sanghas

When western societies imported various strains of Asian Buddhism from the 1960s on, few converts noticed the organisational culture that came with the imports. Rather like the tarantula that arrives in the crate of imported bananas.

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Aniccayana – the way of secular dharma?

This updates an article in the ‘In This Moment’ newsletter in which it was incorrectly stated that an ‘Other’ category was not available in the application for full NZBC membership.

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The ten undeclared topics

Known as the ten undeclared topics, these are the statements that Gotama, the Buddha, refused to give a view on.

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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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A “Re~Collection” on building, renewing, and sustaining sanghas

Last month, I was invited to a Re~Collective online meeting, “…discussing the conversation that took place during the October 28th Sydney Insight Meditators meeting in which the focus was building, renewing and sustaining community.” I was able to review the SIM meeting minutes and a related article, Sanghas R Us, by Winton Higgins – and even to attend despite time zone confusion on my part.

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The power to be radical, and vulnerable

Some time ago, Daniel, a fellow student from the Community Dharma Leadership Programme, told me he was planning a European tour for Lama Rod Owens and asked whether I’d be interested in finding a teaching arrangement for him in Barcelona. I hadn’t heard of him, so I googled him. It took me very little to say ‘Yes!’

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Sanghas R Us

We SIMians could render the traditional three jewels of Buddhism as the potential for awakening; the dharmic wisdom, compassion and practice that helps us realise this potential; and the practice community (sangha) that supports and guides us as we work towards awakening.

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Noah Rasheta interviews Stephen Batchelor

A lightly edited transcript of an interview given by Stephen Batchelor to Noah Rasheta for his podcast ‘Secular Buddhism’ which was published on 14 September 2017, their conversation makes an excellent introduction to secular Buddhism.

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