#5 February 2020
Welcome to our February 2020 newsletter.
This month’s glossary item is the EVERYDAY SUBLIME and we introduce new articles by Stefano Bettera and Bill Gayner. Our feature article is an excerpt from a talk given by Winton Higgins in 2019 on satipaṭṭhāna or insight meditation.
Swimming against the stream
According to Stefano Bettera, our challenge as practitioners is to remain lucid, aware, and present. This is Gotama’s injunction and, in fact, one of his main teachings. To understand this reality means, in traditional Buddhist terms, to understand the middle way, emptiness and not-self. It means entering the stream of the river of life to go against the current.
Touching the earth: a new, secular self-help mindfulness group approach
Touching the Earth groups aspire to treat participants as equals, where no one is paid to lead or facilitate, and each participant takes responsibility for cultivating their own path and for supporting others in cultivating theirs.
The basic format involves meditation, journaling one’s meditation experience, and then exploring the meditation in triads.
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.
We’ve also developed an interactive map as a visual aid to encourage communication and also make it easy to see where we might find others travelling the same spiritual path.
German translation of After Buddhism, a workbook
The Secular Buddhist Network works closely with The Tuwhiri Project, a non-profit organization which produces educational resources for secular dharma practitioners and communities. One of the promises we made during the Kickstarter fundraiser to publish After Buddhism, a workbook was that it would be translated into another language if we reached a certain level of pledge. We reached this stretch goal, thanks to you all, and can report that a German translation is on its way, with the book to be published by Buddha-Stiftung in Heidelberg. We’ll let you know when it’s coming out.
To learn more about the Tuwhiri Project, click here.
Buddhist terms from a secular perspective
In deep meditation – and in other special moments – we can experience everyday phenomena with such intensity that we have no way of expressing them in words or pictures. In this way they are sublime in their beauty or their terror.
‘The numimous’ is another term for capturing these experiences. They point to an appreciation of just how wondrous the things we take for granted really are, and can be an indication of a meditator’s aptitude.
– You can read the complete glossary here:
A secular approach to satipaṭṭhāna meditation in brief
– by Winton Higgins
Let’s reframe our meditation practice to serve the aspiration to deepen and enlarge our humanity rather than leaving it and its life-world behind as an irredeemable vale of tears. We take sati’s hand and invite this human body-and-mind to reveal its contents. At first it might look like an uncharted jungle in there, but that’s the nature of the beast, and that’s okay.
We have the body as a constant, grounding reference point. Never leave home without your body! At the beginning, and at any subsequent stage, we can ‘check in’ to the body, by watching our breathing, taking note of our posture, and of what we’re doing in the physical realm. And sati holds the map.
We should pass up artificial navigation aids, such as technical instructions and supposed milestones on our way. We have no use for formulas. We follow our experience wherever it leads us, and we have the map to reveal to us where we find ourselves at any given moment.
We’re not heading towards a goal, or chasing any particular experience. We don’t need to be ‘redeemed’, or ‘saved’ – swept off to some post-human, post-suffering plane of existence that would in fact demean our human dignity.
Instead, we’re patiently exploring our inner world and getting to know its myriad inhabitants. We’re clarifying ourselves, becoming more connected, balanced and intelligent. We need to be alert to these processes. Gradually patterns will reveal themselves and ethical discrimination will arise, especially as we master the conceptual framework of the discourse – that is, of the dharma itself – in the course of our meditative lives. And our insights will have the supreme authority of our very own experience.
– you can find the complete article here: