Category Archives for Uncategorized

My 6 days at a vipassana retreat

Yep folks, I lasted 6 days out of the 10 day retreat. The longest 6 days of my life. I had looked forward to this retreat with a mixture of excitement and trepidation since I booked it, 3 months ago. I knew it would be hard work, but that was ok if I were to get some of the results I’d read people get, from a 10 day Vipassana retreat.

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The [German] sources of secular Buddhism

So did you believe that secular Buddhism originated in the USA, or perhaps in the southwest of France where Stephen Batchelor writes his books? Winton Higgins, in a brand new article, proposes some German roots of secular Buddhism. Accepted for publication in the journal Buddhismus aktuell, immediately before publication date major changes were requested which couldn’t be made in time.

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Texts on early Buddhism

If you’d like to have a look at what scholars and Buddhist practitioners have been writing about the earliest forms of Buddhism, take a look at this web page.

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What would occur if we stopped?

What would occur if we stopped taking everything for granted? How would it feel to wake up in a fresh summer morning? It would perhaps feel like being in love when you are not yet used to it.

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Spirituality and intellectual honesty

German philosopher Thomas Metzinger is a co-founder of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. In 2003 he published ‘Being No One’ in which he argues that no such things as selves exist in the world: nobody ever had or was a self. All that exists, he states, are phenomenal selves, as they appear in conscious experience. He argues that the phenomenal self, however, is not a thing but an ongoing process; it is the content of a ‘transparent self-model’,

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Emilian and mindfulness

My four year old grandson loves buses, trams, and the Vienna underground railway. A few days ago, we played the following game: together we get on a bus and travel for as long as he likes. Then we get off the bus and take another form of transport. We repeat this as many times as it is fun for us, and then we go home.

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If your first language is not English

Then the proposal of a secular approach to the dharma may not be so easy to understand. What if you could read about these ideas in your own language? Well, now, most of you can.

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More than me and my mind

To a spectator, meditation must seem like the most utterly selfish practice imaginable: a group of people, their eyes shut to the world, listening to their thoughts, observing their minds, noting their feelings. How wonderfully paradoxical, then, that when practised consistently it can lead to an marvellous sense of connectedness with all beings, an openness to life, and a delight in generosity.

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Iskra’s chair

Wanting people to focus on his teachings rather than him as a person or a teacher, Mr Gotama asked that no images be made in his memory. For several hundred years after his death, the Buddha’s life and his teachings were represented by the bodhi tree under which he awoke, an empty chair, by footprints, and possibly also other images.

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Why we come together

Hopefully, ‘secular Buddhism’ will prosper in the world, I believe it can. However, in Auckland as presumably elsewhere, we seem to have no formal structure, practices, or leaders, nor perhaps any consensus views, aims, or philosophy. How therefore might we create a sense of coherence, even direction?

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