INSIGHTAotearoa on secular Buddhism

The June 2013 issue of INSIGHTAotearoa, a newsletter for the country’s insight meditation practitioners and communities, is just out and examines a secular approach to Buddhism. Until the beginning of August, you can read it online here.

Co-editor Christine Dann gives a good overview as to why the focus is relevant to practitioners, Doug Smith looks at Buddhism, thin and thick, there’s a short piece of mine on building supportive communities of learning and practice, and Ron Dubin offers a thoughtful review of the book Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World.

Your thoughts?

 

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One Comment

  1. Jan Rivers
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    I liked Christine’s article and, like her, was at the weekend with Winton Higgins which I really enjoyed – hugely thought provoking. One of my foremost thoughts at the end of the weekend was how diverse the attendees’ relationship with Secular Buddhism was.

    For me the obvious question is: why Secular Buddhism rather than just a “mindful” life?

    I haven’t got any answers to that yet but I have noticed that mindfulness has become a word of the moment in spheres well beyond Buddhism – very zeitgeisty! For example Wallace Chapman used it when he was interviewed by Kim Hill the other weekend about his new book “Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There” http://bit.ly/13NkCx2 and Oliver Burkeman gets to Secular Buddhism via the Stoics and contemporary psychology in “The Antidote” which he called an ‘anti self-help’ book – a best seller from last year http://bit.ly/16yhVAB.

    The latter book describes a kind of Buddhist practice for personal use but I guess what is missing from that book is the parts of Buddhism that relate to the development of a community.

    Organised religion is very good at developing bonds – of community, mutual trust and of obligation. I think the interesting work of secularists – associated with whatever tradition – is to think about how to build community through a practice rather than a belief. If the set of practices doesn’t connect you to anything bigger that yourself then what is it for? Community is one of the most powerful human needs there is. There is a particular paradox in trying to build a community of practice where one of the guiding principles is relinquishing attachment.

    Just thinking aloud – and with no particular conclusion yet.
    Jan

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