- Creating secular
Aotearoa New Zealand
BHIKKHU BODHI FACES
A GREAT DIVIDE
Prominent U.S. Pali translator contrasts 'Classical' and 'Secular' Buddhisms
A fruitful start for meaningful discussion perhaps?Find it here
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Have you ever thought ‘What if I’m doing it wrong?’ We’ve all had that feeling when learning something new. This is no less true when the new activity is meditation.
‘Secular meditators remain inquisitive and critical toward all meditation approaches,’ according to Rick Heller. His new book Secular Meditation: 32 Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy has been reviewed by Sylvie Vanasse, a coach, counsellor and facilitator who is a member of Beaches Sangha.
Linda Modaro and Jason Siff are planning to teach a four week online recollective awareness meditation course from June 25 to July 22, 2016. This online course will have an introductory track and an intermediate one running at the same time.
This evening’s topic brings together a relatively recent current in the dharma world – secular dharma, aka ‘secular Buddhism’ – with the much older practice of insight meditation. Let’s first up get clear what each of these terms means before exploring their relationship.
From time to time I’ve heard participants at retreats etc mention the reason they want to learn meditation is to reduce/manage their anxiety [a couple of my friends dabbled in meditation (they never really became meditators) because they hoped meditating would reduce their anxiety – it didn’t and they no longer meditate].
I’ve been meditating regularly for a couple of years, firstly with an insight meditation group and more recently with the Simply Meditation secular Buddhist group in Wellington, and have been teaching Mindfulness Meditation for a year with Mindfulness Works gaining in confidence and experience in the process. In the middle of last year I decided I’d like to create something which went a little further than the Mindfulness Works courses. The course I designed runs over four Wednesday evenings from Wednesday February 11 at Wellington High School as part of their Community Education programme.
I still remember my excitement on encountering, in Sam Harris’ first book, The End of Faith, the suggestion that it would be possible to enjoy many of the benefits which people had traditionally sought from religion without the need to embrace religion itself. Buddhist meditiation was one of the practices Harris mentioned as a specific example of wisdom that could be extracted from its religious context. “I wonder if anybody is actually doing anything like that?” I remember asking myself.
A group of around a dozen friends, we come together on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9pm upstairs at Newtown Community Centre, on the corner of Rintoul St and Colombo St in Newtown, Wellington.
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.
“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.