Texts, documents and more

Free Thinking – Rana Mitter in conversation with Stephen Batchelor

In February 2016, presenter Rana Mitter had a wide-ranging discussion with Stephen Batchelor for the BBC Radio 3 flagship arts and ideas programme ‘Free Thinking’. Their conversation is reproduced here with kind permission from the BBC.


Source Texts for a Secular Buddhism

When Stephen Batchelor offers a study retreat, the documents being examined – The Pali Canon, Source Texts for a Secular Buddhism – are available as a downloadable PDF.


Journal of Global Buddhism

A number of useful articles with a secular approach have appeared in the Journal of Global Buddhism, an online academic journal.


Winton Higgins’ writings

Sydney insight meditation and recollective awareness teacher Winton Higgins has written much about the growth of a secular buddhism. More of his writings will become available here over time. Items with red lettering are available now.

You can learn more about Winton on his website here and on this Sydney Insight Meditators web page.


Glenn Wallis’ Buddhist Manifesto

‘Siddhattha Gotama, the man we call the Buddha, was an extraordinarily gifted scientist of the real — [who] investigated with precision and care and understood what all of this (reality) is about … identified the proper categories for investigation (body, feelings, thoughts, the senorium) … prescribed a no-nonsense, no-frills, clutter-free methodology that would allow us to ascertain reality for ourselves … warned against the insidious and ensnaring seductiveness of ritual, devotion, and religious artifice.’

Download this document here and be prepared to debate with the author’s ideas.


Stephen Batchelor interviewed

In December 2004, Ramsey Margolis interviewed Stephen Batchelor for the INSIGHTAotearoa newsletter when Batchelor was visiting Wellington. Their discussion covered meditation, the Buddhist path, and the spiritual and the material. Read this interview here.


Lloyd Geering

A Presbyterian minister and former Professor of Old Testament Studies in Brisbane and Dunedin, Lloyd Geering was Foundation Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Since his retirement in 1984 he has continued to lecture widely both in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas. Still lecturing in his 99th year, he is Special Lecturer for the St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society.

Delivered in 2007, in this series of lectures entitled In Praise of the Secular, he asserts that both fundamentalists and secularists have an inadequate meaning of the word secular. Taking the reader on a whirlwind trip through religious history, Lloyd Geering traces the process of secularisation, seeing within earlier forms of Judaism and Christianity the seeds of secular thought emerging from the margins of previously dominant faith systems.

Each of the lectures can be downloaded separately. They are:

  1. What does ‘Secular’ mean
  2. The Emergence of the Secular Age
  3. The Value of Being Secular
  4. Spirituality in the Secular World

Our thanks go to Lloyd Geering, Margaret Mayman and the St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society for allowing these lectures to made freely available.


Further reading

If you’re into reading books, you will find a useful reading list that will hopefully contribute towards your understanding of Buddhism from a secular perspective here.


Email newsletter

About every three to four months a newsletter goes out by email. To subscribe, type your email address in the box in the left column. You can find recent issues of In This Moment here.