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AN AFTERNOON OF
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Sat 1 Nov 2014 • 1 to 5pm
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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.
Killing The Buddha is a recent Sam Harris blog post. I generally agree with what Sam is saying in this post [Buddhism would benefit from taking out the irrational elements] but can’t help thinking that criticizing religions is too narrow and somewhat misses the point of the difficulty he is referring to – superstition, blind belief etc.
The Zen group I sit with has a retreat (Sesshin) every spring. Last Wednesday, among our discussions after zazen we briefly talked about the idea of making a commitment to sit everyday for 108 days.
From Joseph Goldstein:
This is also in the Sam Harris blog I posted earlier. I’m putting it in separately because I think it’s such an important notion to consider.
“People who haven’t tried to meditate have very little sense that their minds are noisy at all. And when you tell them that they’re thinking every second of the day, it generally doesn’t mean anything to them.
Have you noticed how we always see Asian images of a Buddha alone, on its own? Count on your fingers the number of Buddha images in which he’s with others. Sidhattha Gotama, the man we now know as the Buddha, was not a solitary practitioner though. For most of his 45 years as a teacher he was in community. So what are the best ways to find other people to sit with, practice in community, and develop your understanding of the Buddha’s teachings?
You do not even have to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you and be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
Doesn’t that sound a lot better than a ‘Secular Buddhist Film Festival’? A couple of us in Wellington have been talking about putting on a festival of films that people who are interested in mindfulness, meditation and a secular approach to Buddhism and other religious practices might find nourishing.