Going through the process of putting this website up has been a wonderful educational experience.
Thinking through what should go onto it, discussing this with folk near and far, considering the nature of sangha or community, and kalyana mitta or good spiritual friendship … pondering what it must have been like for those who walked and sailed thousands of kilometres with the teachings of the Buddha in their hearts, their heads and in written form in their bags … how these teachings affect our lives in Aotearoa New Zealand in the twenty-first century of our era.
Remembering how unsatisfied I was with the lack of depth in the insight meditation teachings offered in this country, and how I explored this new thing called the internet, discovering recorded dharma talks online. How wonderful some of these teachings were. Some of the teachers were magnificent. Such a wealth of heartfulness, of joy, of wisdom I found.
It was clear in my mind that I was wanting a secular form of Buddhism. Insight meditation, for me, was the closest to this but really a second best. Not exactly, but almost. When a respected teacher launched into a defence of rebirth, or a statement about karma which hinted at previous and future lives I would sigh, with no reason to believe.
Seeing the birth now of an appreciation of the teachings of Siddhattha Gotama which asserts that today, now, this moment, is what matters and that this moment is contingent both on so much that has come before and that exists around us. Saeculum. Secular Buddhism. And like all forms of the dharma it too is contingent. For now though, this is enough.