#24 September 2021
Welcome to our September 2021 newsletter.
This month we highlight a critical review of a book published by Shambhala Publications on secularizing trends in Buddhism, two articles on a secular approach to meditation, and an account of an Argentinian sangha combining forms of Vajrayana Buddhism with a democratic and participatory mode of functioning.
A missed opportunity: a review of ‘Secularizing Buddhism’
A recently published collection of essays, ‘Secularizing Buddhism: new perspectives on a dynamic tradition’, unfortunately represents a missed opportunity to explore the emergence of secular Buddhism, to critically examine its assumptions, and to provide us with an accurate snapshot of the diverse views and practices of secular Buddhists.
Is there a secular Buddhist form of meditation?
No. Secular Buddhists can and do practice meditation in a variety of ways, but there is no secular Buddhist meditation practice per se. Instead, secular Buddhists bring a secular outlook and orientation to existing forms of meditation practice.
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.
A secular approach to insight meditation
Many secular Buddhists practice insight or vipassanā meditation. In a 2015 dharma talk Winton Higgins explored the unique aspects of a secular approach to insight meditation using the foundational text of the Satipatthāna sutta. Both the goal and the process of a secular approach are different than the monastically developed vipassanā meditation from Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.
A Sangha Without a Name (SWAN): Vajrayana roots, democratic and socially engaged practices
Fede Andino writes about the formation, development, and current functioning of a sangha in Argentina – the Sangha Without a Name (SWAN) – whose teachers and practitioners have deep connections to Tibetan Buddhism and have developed a democratic and participatory mode of functioning.
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