POSTS:

Secular Buddhism

What are the core elements of a secular approach to the dharma?
At a recent online meeting of leaders and facilitators of secular Buddhist groups, organizations, and sanghas, various perspectives were offered on the best way to define or describe a secular approach to the dharma.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Katya
Katya grew up in a culturally Jewish, Leftist family in New York City and became involved with a Buddhist sangha in 2001. When her sangha refused to engage politically around issues of racism after the murder of George Floyd, she connected with the Secular Buddhist Network and has become an active participant.
John Dewey, flourishing and Buddhism
Seth Zuihō Segall argues that the Buddhist notions of non-self, interdependence, impermanence, and dukkha need to be situated in the broader framework offered by John Dewey's pragmatic theory.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Tim
Tim grew up in a Christian household, but found a disconnect between his church's teachings and how church members lived their lives. He was introduced to Buddhism over 20 years ago and learned about secular Buddhism in the course of his explorations. Colette Descent edited the interview for SBN.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Jeff
Jeff was deeply involved in orthodox Judaism for 15 years, but eventually moved away from this spiritual tradition to explore secular Buddhism: a non-dogmatic, ethical approach to life.
The core concept of secular Buddhism: the four tasks
The core teachings and insights of Gotama are not ‘truths’ to be believed but a ‘fourfold’ task to help us live our lives in a mindful and compassionate way.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Colette
Colette Descent is an active participant in several SBN groups. She is a member of the monthly online discussion group, the weekly meditation group, and is participating in the Spring 2022 SBN course on secular Buddhism, Exploring a Secular Dharma. We asked Colette about her path to becoming a secular Buddhist and how it has impacted her life.
Stephen Batchelor on an ethics of uncertainty
On 9 March 2022 Stephen Batchelor gave an online talk on an ethics of uncertainty which was sponsored by Mind and Life Europe. Stephen argued that both Gotama and Socrates articulate a situational ethics that is grounded in compassion and unknowing rather than a priori moral convictions and metaphysical certainties.
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.
SBN’s new group: Exploring aging from a secular Buddhist perspective
Based on conversations at the Secular Buddhist Network’s monthly online discussion group, several of the group’s members have formed a new interest group to explore the aging process as a spiritual practice, within a secular Buddhist frame.
What is eudaimonic enlightenment?
Seth Zuihō Segall proposes a model of eudaimonic enlightenment that he believes integrates the best of the Buddhist and Aristotelian approaches. It is based on a version of Buddhism that is pragmatic and naturalistic, and that has the enhancement of individual and collective flourishing both within a single lifetime and over the course of long-term social development as its ultimate goals.
A conversation about the present and future of secular dharma
On 9 February 2022  leaders and facilitators of secular Buddhist groups and sanghas from nine countries - the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Japan, Australia, and the USA - met on Zoom to discuss their current projects, future goals, and how to strengthen collaboration.
Secular Buddhism at the beginning: a study course in 2007
In October and November 2007, Ramsey Margolis and Jonathan Wood facilitated a study course in Wellington, New Zealand called ‘Creating a path: towards a secular Buddhism', based on dharma talks given by Stephen Batchelor. It was one of the first educational programs to explore the new trend of secular Buddhism.
Resolving the secular versus religious dichotomy: a new approach for secular Buddhism
Stefano Bettera offers an interpretation of a secular approach to the dharma which he believes is a third way, inclusive and conciliatory, which avoids the dichotomy between the 'religious' and the 'secular'. This approach is based in the primary experience of the ethical dimension of awakening, called nirvana.
The core life tasks and beliefs for a radically engaged Buddhist
Mike Slott, Katya de Kadt, and Karsten Struhl offer an account of the core tasks and beliefs for radically engaged Buddhists who seek not just individual transformation but the dismantling of social, economic, and political systems which cause harm and suffering to all beings.