The community of practitioners – the sangha – is a crucial aspect of the dharmic path for secular Buddhists. But what do we mean by community? How is a community different than other forms of collective organizations? How do we create a true community of practitioners that help each other develop their practice and contribute to a ‘culture of awakening’?
Moving away from hierarchy and toward democratic sanghas
Developing a secular dharma which is relevant to our contemporary world requires us to engage in a serious examination of traditional models and practices of the community of practitioners – the sangha – and to be willing to experiment with new, more democratic forms.
In the second issue of the newsletter we introduce a new post on goals in meditation, introduce you (probably) to the online group Re~Collective, and Bernat Font from the secular Buddhist group in Barcelona writes on Sharing our practice in a group.
This is the first issue of Reimagining Community – the successor to ‘In This Moment’, the Aotearoa New Zealand secular Buddhist newsletter. It will go out monthly with news and updates from a brand new website at secularbuddhistnetwork.org.
Winton Higgins’ articles and dharma talks provide us with a clear understanding of the development of secular Buddhism and the ways in which a secular approach differs from traditional forms of Buddhism.
Secular versus traditional approaches to meditation
In his 2015 book After Buddhism Stephen Batchelor argues that the goal of meditation for secular Buddhists is not achieving nirvana but gaining an embodied understanding of our experiences from moment to moment.