Sanghas R Us

We SIMians could render the traditional three jewels of Buddhism as the potential for awakening; the dharmic wisdom, compassion and practice that helps us realise this potential; and the practice community (sangha) that supports and guides us as we work towards awakening.

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Noah Rasheta interviews Stephen Batchelor

A lightly edited transcript of an interview given by Stephen Batchelor to Noah Rasheta for his podcast ‘Secular Buddhism’ which was published on 14 September 2017, their conversation makes an excellent introduction to secular Buddhism.

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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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Are secular Buddhists modern or traditional?

What is secular Buddhism, or what are secular Buddhisms? Is secular Buddhism the same as modern Buddhism, or Buddhist modernism? How different is it from traditional Buddhisms? Are individual secular Buddhists modern or traditional?

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Online, together, meditating, secular

Whether you practice on your own or are part of a group and you’re wanting additional support for your practice, you’re in Wellington or elsewhere, you’re welcome to take part in the One Mindful Breath online secular Buddhist practice sessions.

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Establishing a meditation practice

Meditation is simple, but not easy. As secular Buddhists we have a simple, valuable practice which we believe will be of benefit but one that is also not at all easy to do, and one that is not at all easy for many meditators to establish. None of us are practicing in a monastic environment, where meditation is scheduled into the daily routine and expert guidance is at hand. So what can we do to help establish a regular practice of meditation? In this article I make the analogy with another practice that I’ve been working to establish.

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Dissolving the secular–faith divide

In June this year the Elijah Interfaith Institute launched a project called Make Friends in which 31 faith leaders signed up to a joint statement. Any initiative whose aim is to promote greater understanding between people of different backgrounds must be applauded, and having people of faith engage in conversations with each other seems an ambitious approach, but perhaps not sufficiently so. Why does the Elijah Institute not extend its vision to include building bridges with the people of no faith?

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Secular Buddhism and the the politics of decency

Is this talk – for you – a good expression of a contemporary secular Buddhist approach to political and social issues?

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Buddhism and humanism – is there a conflict?

The question is whether ‘awakening’ in Buddhism has anything supernatural or distinctly ‘religious’ about it, or whether it is a natural capacity that can be understood in the light of evolutionary biology and cognitive science. For some people this dilemma is not of any interest because they come down so firmly on one side of the question, however for me it remains difficult to think clearly about whether or not Buddhism should be called a ‘religion’.

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Kookaburra Sangha – Australia’s newest secular Buddhist community

A new insight meditation sangha has formed in Sydney’s inner-western suburbs, naming itself the Kookaburra Sangha to evoke a spot of dharma joy. On Monday 1 May, the sangha started to meet weekly at the Genki Centre, 1 Arundel St, Glebe (just across the road from Sydney Uni), and will meet there each Monday from 7–9pm.

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