Author Archives: Jan Rivers

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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Filling in the gaps between religion and philosophy – is this what a secular approach to Buddhism does?

Do you think there is a discussion to be had about how a secular approach to Buddhism fits into the space between religion and philosophy? Human ‘beliefs’ about the nature of consciousness and of free will are very diverse. What importance do you think this diversity makes to our ability to build a strong sense of a community bound by ethics rather than faith?

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New Wellington community education course on Mindfulness Meditation

I’ve been meditating regularly for a couple of years, firstly with an insight meditation group and more recently with the Simply Meditation secular Buddhist group in Wellington, and have been teaching Mindfulness Meditation for a year with Mindfulness Works gaining in confidence and experience in the process. In the middle of last year I decided I’d like to create something which went a little further than the Mindfulness Works courses. The course I designed runs over four Wednesday evenings from Wednesday February 11 at Wellington High School as part of their Community Education programme.

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‘Against Productivity’ – an essay by Quinn Norton

I have great pleasure in finding examples of mindfulness in places other than secular Buddhist explanations of the Buddhist tradition. As a European New Zealander who has left it far too late ever to be a serious student of Buddhism, examples that speak directly to me of what meditation is all about can easily be found in the secular and Western world.

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