#22 July 2021
Welcome to our July 2021 newsletter.
This month we highlight a discussion on secular Buddhism and Robert M. Ellis’s Middle Way Philosophy, the opening of registration for SBN’s Fall 2021 online course on Exploring a secular dharma, and a new book by Paul Andrew Powell which explores the connection between Zen and our secular world. We also invite readers to read and offer comments on Stephen Batchelor’s ten theses of secular dharma.
A discussion on Secular Buddhism and Middle Way Philosophy
Robert M. Ellis, the developer and proponent of Middle Way Philosophy, offered his view of the relationship between Middle Way Philosophy and secular Buddhism in an article in SBN. While seeing some commonalties with a secular approach to the dharma, Ellis criticized secular Buddhism on several grounds.
In his response to the article Winton Higgins argued that Robert’s critique was not accurate and that the Middle Way Philosophy’s eclecticism, while well-intentioned, obscures important differences in the way we understand our spiritual quests.
In a rejoinder to Winton’s response, Robert disputed Winton’s criticisms of Middle Way Philosophy and contended that this approach identifies and applies the valuable insights of the Buddha in the most universal way available.
Register now for SBN’s online course, Exploring a secular dharma
Registrations are now open for the Fall 2021 class of SBN’s free online course, which explores the basic concepts and practices of a secular dharma. Participants in the course will go through the course modules, discuss the topics in each module with each other, and meet on Zoom every two weeks with the instructors for the course.
Participate in SBN’s online groups
The Secular Buddhist Network is sponsoring an online discussion group which meets the third Thursday of each month on Zoom. It’s a great opportunity for secular Buddhists and those who are interested in learning more about a secular approach to the dharma to connect with each other and to discuss key issues. For more information, click here.
We’ve also started an online meditation group which meets every Sunday. Each meeting of the group lasts about 40 minutes. We start with a brief welcome and introduction (2-5 minutes), followed by a 30-minute silent meditation, and close with a short poem, metta meditation or other reading (2-5 minutes). For more information, click here.
Connect with Secular Buddhists worldwide
If you have a sangha, centre, meditation group, resource or website, or are an individual who would like to connect with other secular Buddhists, fill out our simple form and we can add you to our listing of secular Buddhist groups and individuals, as well as an interactive map.
Philosophical musings on Zen and our secular world
Paul Andrew Powell’s new book, Zen and Artificial Intelligence and Other Philosophical Musings by a Student of Zen Buddhism, is an anthology of six, first-person, scholarly essays based on personal insights from his study and practice of Zen Buddhism. In these essays he explores how the living Buddha Dharma is an unrecognized subtext running throughout the entire story of the secular West.
Stephen Batchelor’s ten theses of secular dharma
At the conclusion of his 2015 book, After Buddhism: rethinking the dharma for a secular age, Stephen Batchelor offered ten theses of secular dharma as a way of summing up his perspective on secular Buddhism.
For Stephen, a secular dharma which promotes human flourishing is both radical in its reconstruction of Buddhism while respectful and appreciative of traditional perspectives and practices.
What do you think about the ten theses? Has Stephen captured the key elements of secular Buddhism? Is anything missing or needs to be more emphasized? Join the discussion by providing comments on the theses.
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