POSTS:

Mike Slott

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.’
From meditation retreats to dharma path immersives
While meditation retreats are extremely valuable, they are limited in some important respects. We need to develop more inclusive forms of intensive practice which help us cultivate each of the essential dimensions of of the Eightfold Path in an integrated way.
How our sangha encourages participation and sharing
While sanghas in traditional Buddhist lineages are often founded on hierarchical notions of the teacher–student relationship, secular Buddhists emphasize that sanghas should be based on a more equal participation of members. The New Jersey, USA, sangha is one example of an effort to develop more democratic, participatory sanghas.
Secular Buddhist meditation: cultivating virtues and insights to promote human flourishing
Mike Slott argues that the purpose of meditation for secular Buddhists is to cultivate certain virtues and insights which are crucial to promoting human flourishing in this world, not the attainment of nirvana.
A review of Ron Purser’s ‘McMindfulness: the new capitalist spirituality’
The title says it all. In McMindfulness: how mindfulness became the new capitalist spirituality, Ron Purser offers a scathing criticism of how the Buddhist practice of mindfulness has been transformed into a method to reduce the stress levels of individuals in a competitive, capitalist society. Is he right?
A secular reinterpretation of the Eightfold Path
While the Eightfold Path is an essential framework and guide for traditional and secular Buddhists, the goal of the path for secular Buddhists is not nirvana but human flourishing in this life. This requires us to reinterpret the meaning and function of the eight path factors.
Should secular Buddhists be socially-engaged Buddhists?
Mike Slott explains why secular Buddhists should be socially engaged, from service work with individuals to participation in radical political movements.
Three paths for secular Buddhists – crucial conversations and movements
Mike Slott identifies three trends or paths within secular Buddhism: 1) a dharmic-focused effort to reconstruct Buddhism, 2) bringing a secular form of Buddhism into the mindfulness movement, and 3) integrating secular Buddhist perspectives and insights into projects for radical, political transformation.
Reflections on the Second Noble Truth: it’s more than craving
Mike Slott argues that Buddhists need to broaden their understanding of the causes to suffering (the Second Noble Truth) to include not only the inevitable sources of dukkha (sickness, death, etc.) and our own unskillful ways of being in the world due to craving, but also social and economic structures which harm human beings.
Three marks of existence, or three factors of human experience?
Mike Slott contends that, from secular Buddhist perspective, it is more appropriate to view impermancence, not-self, and dukkha as aspects of our experience rather than ontological characteristics of reality.
Meditating without nirvana: a transformative experience
From a secular Buddhist perspective, Mike Slott contends that meditation should not be about reaching or accessing nirvana, but developing the capacity to become wiser, more compassionate, and mindful.
Meditating with and for each other
Mike Slott argues in this article that traditional meditation retreats in insight and Zen centers are too individually-focused, that there needs to be more opportunities to develop a sense of community and comraderie among retreat participants. He offers "practical suggestions on how solidarity and support between retreatants, as well as a greater focus on our engagement in the world, can become part of meditation retreats."
Secular Buddhism and the real reasons to meditate
Mike Slott argues that the goal of meditation is to become a more mindful and compassionate person, one who can contribute to creating a society in which all human beings can flourish.