A review of David McMahan’s new book, ‘Rethinking Meditation’
In his review of David McMahan's Rethinking Meditation, Mike Slott argues that McMahan's insightful analysis of meditation misses one key factor: the impact of neo-liberal capitalism on contemporary meditative practices.
What if our ordinary experience is all that matters
To experience ourselves - our breath, the sensations in the body, the pain in the knees, the feeling of the wind or the rain on our cheeks - all of this is utterly pertinent to the question I am suggesting you ask: 'What is this?' But please remember that 'this' refers to what is so close to you that you tend to completely overlook it.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
In the first of three talks at a day-long workshop in New Zealand in 2019 Winton Higgins discusses the Buddha’s foundational teaching for meditative practice, the Satipaṭṭhāna sutta (the discourse on the focuses of awareness) from a secular Buddhist perspective.
In a dharma talk given in New Zealand in October 2015 Winton Higgins explores the differences between the traditional model of insight meditation using the foundational text of the Satipatthāna sutta and a secular approach.