Category Archives for Dharma study

‘The goal’

Eighteen months ago I was asked to give a talk at the Metta Centre in Bankstown, in Sydney’s western suburbs. The wonderful Tina Ng founded and leads this centre, which is non-denominational even if the Theravādin influence is strongest. Tina was running a series of talks on the different traditions within Buddhism, and wanted me to introduce secular Buddhism.

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Secular Buddhism and the western search for meaning

Since the late nineteenth century Buddhism has been promoted in the west in various different guises – as an alternative, ‘scientific’ religion; as an alternative to religion; as a psychotherapy; and as a practical philosophy in the ancient Greek sense of a set of ideas to actually live by. It has been promoted in this way on both sides of what we might now think of as a religious/secular divide.

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Entering the tiger’s cave

Winton Higgins led a one-day secular Buddhist workshop titled ‘Entering the tiger’s cave – insight meditation and the inner life’ in Wellington. The talks he gave are available here.

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Abundant emptiness

When I was studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London many years ago, my supervisor once accused me, during discussion of a text by the early Buddhist writer Nagarjuna, of being ‘obsessed with emptiness’.

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Barcelona – dharma 2.0, a course in secular Buddhism

During eight sessions, this course 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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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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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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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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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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