POSTS:

Mike Slott

The path of the bodhisattva or ‘making the road’ through solidarity?
Mike Slott offers an alternative model to the path of the Bodhisattva, one based on the solidarity of practitioners ‘co-creating’ the transformative changes that we seek.
How Buddhist insights and values can help sustain political activism
Mike Slott explores the ways in which Buddhist insights and values can enable political activists to sustain their activity in various movements and to make a positive contribution to the organizations in which they participate.
What kind of Buddhist are you?
Mike Slott offers a ‘map’ of contemporary Buddhism to represent the multiplicity of approaches available to practitioners. The map can used by practitioners to understand how their own interests, values, and attitudes connect with the dharma.
The core life tasks and beliefs for a radically engaged Buddhist
Mike Slott, Katya de Kadt, and Karsten Struhl offer an account of the core tasks and beliefs for radically engaged Buddhists who seek not just individual transformation but the dismantling of social, economic, and political systems which cause harm and suffering to all beings.
Rejoinder to Winton Higgins on ‘Reexamining “truths” and “tasks” in secular Buddhism’
Responding to Winton Higgins’ criticism of his view of the relationship of tasks and truths in secular Buddhism, Mike Slott argues that in rejecting metaphysical truths as the basis of Buddhism, we don’t need to reject entirely the notion of truth as correspondence. The beliefs of secular Buddhists are provisional and conditional truth claims about our lived experience and the universe in which we are inextricably embedded.
Reexamining ‘truths’ and ‘tasks’ in secular Buddhism
While Stephen Batchelor’s emphasis on the pragmatic and ethical meaning of the Buddha’s teachings has been crucial in the development of a secular approach to the dharma, Mike Slott argues that Stephen has not adequately addressed a legitimate concern about the role and meaning of truth in his approach. The secular dharmic path challenges us to assess constantly both our ‘tasks’ and the ‘truths’ on which they are based.
A missed opportunity: a review of ‘Secularizing Buddhism’
A new collection of essays, ‘Secularizing Buddhism: new perspectives on a dynamic tradition’, unfortunately represents a missed opportunity to explore the emergence of secular Buddhism, to critically examine its assumptions, and to provide us with an accurate snapshot of the diverse views and practices of secular Buddhists.
Avoiding the conceit of superiority: a cautionary note for secular Buddhists
To avoid the superiority conceit pervasive in debates within Buddhism, secular Buddhists need to recognize two key points: 1) our approach to the Buddha’s teachings is only one of many legitimate approaches and 2) Buddhism, whether, in a secular or traditional form, does not provide us with all the answers to the key challenges that we face today.
What Bhikkhu Analayo got wrong: a review of ‘Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions’
While the overall purpose of Bhikkhu Analayo’s new book, Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions: A Historical Perspective , is well-intended, his treatment of superiority conceit in Buddhist traditions fails to identify the root cause of this problem in Buddhism. He also mischaracterizes the writings of Stephen Batchelor and ignores the ideas and practices of contemporary secular Buddhists.
How do we know if secular Buddhism is the ‘appropriate’ view and path?
While we cannot definitively know that secular Buddhism is the most ‘appropriate’ approach to the dharma in some universal sense, Mike Slott asserts that each individual can determine whether secular Buddhism is an ‘appropriate’ view and path for their own life based on their experiences, interests, and goals.
Owen Flanagan on the core elements of a naturalistic Buddhism
Owen Flanagan presents the core elements of a naturalistic Buddhism in a recent essay. Following the traditional division of the Noble Eightfold Path into three sections – wisdom, ethics, and meditation – he lays out the ‘three strands’ of a Buddhism stripped of the metaphysical and supernatural elements of traditional Buddhism.
Transforming ourselves and transforming the world
Meditation is invaluable in developing the skills and qualities for us to play a productive role in movements for social change, but engaging in social change with others is essential if we want to fully develop these skills and qualities. We should see individual and social transformation as a simultaneous, mutually interactive process.
A review of Evan Thompson’s ‘Why I am not a Buddhist’
In his recently published book, the philosopher Evan Thompson critiques Buddhist modernism and the notion that Buddhism is superior to other spiritual traditions because it provides us with a scientific understanding of the mind and our world. Is Thompson’s criticism of Buddhist modernism valid? Do his criticisms apply to secular Buddhism?
Engaged Buddhists need radical social theory
We need both the Buddha’s insights on the human condition and a non-deterministic, humanistic Marxism to create a ‘culture of awakening’ and just society in which all human beings have the opportunity to flourish. As each perspective has strengths and weaknesses, we need to bring these perspectives together in a complementary, mutually enriching way.
Review of Rhonda V. Magee’s ‘The Inner Work of Racial Justice’
This book skillfully weaves together personal stories of Magee and other workshop participants, meditative and reflective practices which help us develop mindfulness and compassion in the context of confronting racism, and an account of how racism affects all of us – people of color as well as those who our society labels as ‘white.’
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