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Debate and Dialogue

Anger, conflict and compassion
Given the anger that many people feel in relation to the tragic events in Ukraine and to violent conflicts in other parts of the world, John Danvers reflects on this powerful emotion and how we might deal with it in a skillful way so that anger is transformed into compassionate action.
The emergence of Navayana Buddhism
Dennis SengTing Oliver argues that despite the wide variety of Buddhisms practised in the west, there are certain common trends within western Buddhism that may be the basis for a new ‘yana’ or vehicle for practitioners: Navayana Buddhism.
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.
Secular Buddhism as a ‘paradigm shift’
Jonathan Golden uses Kuhn’s notion of a ‘paradigm shift’ to discuss the issue of ‘truths’ and ‘tasks’ in secular Buddhism. He argues that Kuhn’s perspective is consistent with Mike Slott’s view of truths and tasks; while there are no absolute truths, our beliefs (provisional truth claims) are a necessary precondition for our practice, and practitioners should not be required to make a binary choice between truths and tasks. 
Reexamining ‘truths’ and ‘tasks’ in secular Buddhism: a dialogue
Mike Slott, Winton Higgins, Stephen Batchelor, and Jonathan Golden discuss the relationship of truths and tasks in a secular approach to the dharma.
Dharma in the shadow of Buddhism: a response to Mike Slott and Winton Higgins
Stephen Batchelor continues the dialogue on ‘truths’ and ‘tasks’ in secular Buddhism by framing the discussion from a broader, historical perspective. Stephen argues that the Buddha’s radical move was to depart from the truth-based perspective of Brahmanic, Indian culture to teach a fully committed ethical life that is not underwritten by any ultimate truth.
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.
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.
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.
Robert M. Ellis and Winton Higgins discuss Middle Way Philosophy and Secular Buddhism
Robert M. Ellis and Winton Higgins engage in a discussion about Middle Way Philosophy and secular Buddhism, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective.
Robert M. Ellis’s rejoinder to Winton Higgins’s comments on ‘Middle Way Philosophy and Secular Buddhism’
In a rejoinder to Winton Higgins’s comments on his article, ‘the Middle Way Philosophy and Secular Buddhism’, Robert M. Ellis disputes Winton Higgins’s criticisms of Middle Way Philosophy and contends that this approach, rather than secular Buddhism, identifies and applies the valuable insights of the Buddha in the most universal way available.
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.
Middle Way Philosophy and Secular Buddhism
Robert M. Ellis explains that his Middle Way Philosophy shares with secular Buddhism a critical approach to the Buddhist tradition, but he argues that ‘secular’ is not a term that provides the criteria we need to skillfully interrogate Buddhism and other traditions.
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.
Seth Zuihō Segall and Winton Higgins debate the meaning and value of secular Buddhism
Beginning with Seth Zuihō Segall’s article, ‘Why I am not a secular Buddhist,’ Seth and Winton Higgins have engaged in a dialogue on SBN about the meaning and value of secular Buddhism. They have discussed the notion of secularity, religion and religious experience, the role of community, and other key issues.
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