by SBN Editor
Dave Smith is a Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, and published author. He has been teaching and designing Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence based programs and curriculum for over 10 years and recently founded the Secular Dharma Foundation. He lives in Paonia, CO with his wife and two sons.
Dave is offering a new program beginning 1 February 2021: Buddhist Recovery Online Class and Community. This is a teacher-directed, community-based monthly subscription program.
Here is a brief description of the program provided by Dave:
A new type of Buddhist Recovery program
In recent years there has been a staggering interest and appetite within Recovery culture for a Buddhist Recovery. Many people from a wide range of Buddhist traditions have been creatively developing ways to bring the concepts of addiction, recovery and Buddhism together.
Because there is no universal definition for, or understanding, of what Buddhist Recovery is and how it works, many people find themselves confused and discouraged as they are looking for perspectives and practices that have meaningful and practical directions.
Buddhism has a long standing tradition of of delivering the teachings of the Dharma through transmission. Passed down orally through the ages, the primary delivery has been from teacher to student. Within the modern world where we find ourselves, Dharma teaching is often discovered by sitting retreats, attending classes, reading books and streaming talks and podcasts on an enormous range of Buddhist traditions and topics.
In this “home-school” era of practice it can be difficult to find regular and consistent guidance in the practice. Equally difficult is to find a teacher who we can develop a long term and regular relationship with that can support and guide us to make progress in our Dharma and Recovery work.
This online class has been specifically created to meet that demand. With the added and important feature of educational online content, we remove the complicated dilemma of referring to a teacher for authority. Here, we have a teaching map that can guide us and allow us to learn, apply and practice the material for ourselves. By focusing on historical and academic perspectives on the Dharma, we have an external reference point. This three way relationship – teacher, student and content – allows for a non-authoritarian perspective.
Relationship to Stephen Batchelor’s four tasks
Over the past several decades there has been a great deal of interest in utilizing Buddhism as a means for establishing or maintaining recovery from a range of addiction behaviors. Many are drawn to the Buddhist tradition for two primary reasons.
1) The emphasis and instruction on meditation practice
2) The idea that we can end suffering through Buddhist meditation.
The underlying trap for addicts is the idea of ending suffering once and for all. Many people have utilized addiction behaviors to do this very thing, end suffering, while finding that this is simply not possible. Thus, it becomes an easy transition to employ Buddhism to accomplish the same unattainable goal.
For secular Buddhists who have embraced the canonical understanding of the four noble truths as ‘four tasks’ (largely popularized by the work of Stephen Batchelor), we see an entirely different picture.
Moving from truth to task is essential for those struggling with addiction. Addiction, from a Buddhist perspective is a behavior. It is something we do, rather than something we are. Addiction Recovery requires us to overcome our challenges and embrace our possibilities. It becomes a host of skills that we are able to apply and master. Here, the four tasks become a brilliant and practical process for understanding and overcoming addiction.
- Live teachings sessions every week, via Zoom with Dave and Shannon Smith: Dharma Talk, Meditation and Q&A
- 6 Modules of content designed for you to move at your own pace
- More than 3 hours of educational video content
- 18 guided meditation practices
- All content pertaining to the original teachings of the Buddha from historical and academic perspectives
- New course material added and updated regularly