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 metaphysical beliefs and religious truth-claims.

◼︎ 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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Secular Buddhism and the Real Reasons to Meditate

Why do you meditate?

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A dharmic understanding of evil

The mythical figure of Mara in the Pali canon provides us with an obvious starting point for understanding evil. He appears again and again to the Buddha and his advanced disciples, preferably when they’re meditating. He’s disguised as a well-meaning stranger offering friendly, banal advice, the import of which would throw the hearer right off course if s/he heeded him.

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Barcelona – dharma 2.0, a course in secular Buddhism

During the course dharma 2.0, we will articulate a contemporary vision of meditation and practical Buddhist philosophy in an integrative and accessible but also an exhaustive way.

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‘Equanimity without numbness’

A few days ago, I was listening to a podcast episode of The Ezra Klein Show from 27 November last year, and there was something in it that really stood out to me. I’d found this podcast looking through the show’s back catalogue, and although I found the title a bit clunky (‘What Buddhism got right about the human brain’) I gave it a listen as I was interested to hear what Ezra’s guest had to say.

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After Buddhism, a workbook

The Tuwhiri Project is a new social enterprise that has been set up to create educational resources for secular Buddhists. It consists of Pete Cowley and myself (Ramsey Margolis) in Wellington with Winton Higgins and Margaret Tung in Sydney. We are seeking your support to produce, print, distribute and promote our first book, After Buddhism: a workbook.

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Core Elements of a Secular and Socially-Engaged Buddhism

While secular Buddhism has become an increasingly significant trend within western Buddhism, there is no consensus among secular Buddhists about our basic principles, values, and goals. In an article posted last year on the U.S. Secular Buddhist Association website, Three Paths for Secular Buddhists, I identified three distinct trends within secular Buddhism.

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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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