Winton Higgins

Buddhist modernism and secular Buddhism
Winton Higgins discusses the differences between Buddhist modernism, which established itself in the west in the 1960s, and a fully secular approach to the dharma.
The dharma of nostalgia
In a dharma talk given to the Kookaburra Sangha in Sydney, Australia, Winton Higgins explores how nostalgia is often a reactive craving for mythologised memories and public histories.
A response to ‘The core life tasks and beliefs for a radically engaged Buddhist’
In response to the article by Slott, de Kadt, and Struhl on 'The core life tasks and beliefs for a radically engaged Buddhist,' Winton Higgins expresses his agreement with the authors' perspective, but points to a missing piece in the article: the lack of any discussion over a pathway or transition from our present morass to a socially just, future society.
Response to Mike Slott’s ‘Reexamining “truths” and “tasks” in secular Buddhism’
In response to Mike Slott's article on truths and tasks in secular Buddhism Winton Higgins argues that Mike's critique of Stephen Batchelor's formulation is misconceived; the issue is not the epistemological status of truth but about how we should live and practise. Dharma practitioners do have to choose: they can’t wish-wash over the truths/tasks distinction.
Winton Higgins on Robert M. Ellis’s ‘Middle Way Philosophy and Secular Buddhism’
Winton Higgins responds to Robert M. Ellis's SBN article on his Middle Way Philosophy and secular Buddhism. Higgins disagrees with Ellis's criticisms of secular Buddhism and argues that the Middle Way Philosophy's eclecticism, while well-intentioned, obscures important differences in the way we understand our spiritual quests.
A review of Lenorë Lambert’s The Buddha for modern minds: a non-religious guide to the Buddha and his teachings
Winton Higgins reviews Lenorë Lambert's new book, The Buddha for modern minds: a non-religious guide to the Buddha and his teachings. According to Winton, the book admirably achieves its purpose of preparing the newcomer for a promising ‘first date’ with the dharma and its practice. It does so in impeccably secular terms that are securely based in the early teachings.
Dharma vision and tragic vision
In a dharma talk given to the Bluegum Sangha (Australia), Winton Higgins discusses the close affinity between Gotama's notion of dukkha and the tragic tradition in western culture, beginning with the Greek tragic playwrights. A common theme is that our difficulties are an essential part of every human life. Our task is to embrace these difficult challenges and say ‘yes’ to life no matter how dire the predicament.
The dialogue on secular Buddhism continues: Winton Higgins’s surrejoinder to Seth Zuihō Segall’s rejoinder
In his reply to Seth Zuihō Segall's rejoinder in the debate over secular Buddhism Winton Higgins explores the meaning of secularity, religion, and the everyday sublime. He argues that a secular faith is not opposed to religion but is characterized by a deep engagement, a wholehearted commitment, to living this, our one and only life, meaningfully.
Winton Higgins responds to Seth Zuihō Segall’s ‘Why I am not a secular Buddhist’
Winton Higgins asserts that Seth Zuihō Segall mistakenly assumes that all secular Buddhists support a 'scientistic' form of secular Buddhism which is hostile to religion. In fact, many secular Buddhists advocate an 'interpretive' approach which integrates dharmic insights with modern perspectives to promote human flourishing in this life.
Mortality and spiritual freedom
In an August 2020 talk to Bluegum Sangha in Sydney, Australia, Winton Higgins offered some thoughts on This life: secular faith and spiritual freedom, a recently published book by the Swedish philosopher, Martin Hägglund. He explored some of the ways the book might prompt us as dharma practitioners to refocus our practice by clarifying some of our underlying assumptions.
Dharmic existentialist ethics in a time of pandemic
Today we find ourselves in the grip of a scary epidemic. Ours is due to the coronavirus (aka Covid-19). Some great creative writers have used these occasions to plunge into their deeper human meaning, particularly Albert Camus’s The plague (1947), which bristles with dharmic resonances.
Winton Higgins on Ron Purser’s “McMindfulness”
Commercialised mindfulness meditation is to Buddhist meditation what McDonald’s offerings are to real cooking, the title of Ron Purser’s book infers. But there’s more to that title – it has antecedents, according to Sydney secular Buddhist teacher, Winton Higgins.
Dharma practice and solidarity in troubling times
According to Winton Higgins, the foundation of Buddhists' political engagement is the overarching ethical commitment to care, the responsibility to be 'engaged as a moral agent in what is going on in one’s own life'.
The goal of secular Buddhist meditation practice
According to Winton Higgins, 'We meditate to experience this world and this life as vividly as possible. Intensely. The way we experience it reflects back at us – it tells us who we are and where we’re at in this moment.'
Dharma and community for meditators
Winton Higgins has written extensively about democratic communities and the development of secular Buddhism. In this article Winton offers some defining characteristics of a democratic sangha.