- 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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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.
Have you noticed how we always see Asian Buddha images alone, on its own? Count on your fingers the number of Buddha images in which he’s with others. Sidhattha Gotama, the man we now know as the Buddha, was not a solitary practitioner though; for most of his 45 years as a teacher he was in community. So what are the best ways to find other people to sit with, practice in community, and develop your understanding of the Buddha’s teachings?
Doesn’t that sound a lot better than a ‘Secular Buddhist Film Festival’? A couple of us in Wellington have been talking about putting on a festival of films that people who are interested in mindfulness, meditation and a secular approach to Buddhism and other religious practices might find nourishing.
This video is well worth watching again and again for those interested in grasping a bit more of both “Buddhism” (a misnomer as Stephen Batchelor points out) and “Secular Buddhism” (the latter is actually perfectly possible and does seem to get back to the roots of authentic “Buddhism”).
I am convening a meeting in Alexandra with the hope of setting up a secular insight meditation/Buddhist wisdom group. This meeting is to be held on Monday 30th September from 7pm at Alexandra Community House. Can it work? Time will tell. Hopefully, people will come along.
What would occur if we stopped taking everything for granted? How would it feel to wake up in a fresh summer morning? It would perhaps feel like being in love when you are not yet used to it.
I am a secular Buddhist. It has taken me years to fully ‘come out,’ and I still feel a nagging tug of insecurity, a faint aura of betrayal in declaring myself in these terms. As a secular Buddhist my practice is concerned with responding as sincerely and urgently as possible to the suffering of life in this world, in this century (our saeculum) where we find ourselves now and future generations will find themselves later. Rather than attaining a final nirvana, I see the aim of Buddhist practice to be the moment-to-moment flourishing of human life within the ethical framework of the eightfold path here on earth.
A new video by Stephen Batchelor is now available on the videos page of this website and on our youtube channel.
Being Completely Human – Buddhist Practice in a Post-Christian World was the subject of a talk given by Stephen Batchelor on 27 February 2012.
Here’s an idea for a new, self supporting retreat model at Te Moata. I’ve been talking with some friends about a new type of leaderless retreat that would support everyday-life practice. I’d like to know if this would interest others.