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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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, this has been posted here with permission from both interviewer and interviewee. Their conversation makes an excellent introduction to secular Buddhism.

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Can anyone spot an initial capital letter?

In a Burmese square script called Magyi-zi, or ‘tamarind seed script’, blocks such as this in the Pali language, used in the earliest Buddhist texts, were commissioned by a Sri Lankan family when a son entered a Buddhist monastery, for use in the ordination ceremony.

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Are secular Buddhists modern or traditional?

What is secular Buddhism, or what are secular Buddhisms? Is secular Buddhism the same as modern Buddhism, or Buddhist modernism? How different is it from traditional Buddhisms? Are individual secular Buddhists modern or traditional?

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Online, together, meditating, secular

Whether you practice on your own or are part of a group and you’re wanting additional support for your practice, you’re in Wellington or elsewhere, you’re welcome to take part in the One Mindful Breath online secular Buddhist practice sessions.

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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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