#25 October 2021
Welcome to our October 2021 newsletter.
This month we highlight the unique path of a secular Buddhist monastic, an early experiment in a more secular approach to the dharma in Japan. an interview with a meditation teacher active in the climate group Extinction Rebellion, and an online event featuring an artist engaging in the ecological crises of our time. Finally, we explain why we’ve changed the name of this newsletter.
A secular Buddhist monastic
Venerable Tenzin Tharpa discusses his path from Tibetan Buddhist monasticism to becoming a secular Buddhist monastic. He formed the Secular Buddhist Tradition (SBT), an international community dedicated to sharing a practical and accessible presentation of the buddhadharma focused on the positive life-affirming message of the Buddha.
A name change for the SBN newsletter…. and some website changes
The name of the Secular Buddhist Network’s newsletter has been changed from Reimagining Community to Rethinking the Dharma / Reimagining Community. The name change reflects the fact that the SBN website has not just focused on creating new forms of sangha, but has also offered readers a broad array of perspectives and debates related to a secular approach to the dharma.
We’ve also made some design changes to the website to make it easier for readers to connect directly with other secular Buddhists through ongoing SBN projects. The ‘Network’ box on the home page (below the ‘Latest Posts’) was redesigned to highlight the options for connections and to provide an easy way of joining one of our groups.
An early experiment in socially active secular Buddhism in Japan
James Mark Shields discusses the New Buddhist Fellowship (NBF), a group of roughly a dozen young scholars and activists in Japan who developed a more modern and secular version of Buddhism. In several important respects, the New Buddhists of early twentieth-century Japan lay the foundations for later movements such as socially engaged and secular Buddhism.
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, 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.
An interview with Yanai Postelnik on meditation and climate change activism
Bernat Font Clos interviewed Yanai Postelnik, a meditation teacher who in recent years has been devoting more and more time to climate activism with the group Extinction Rebellion, a decentralized, international movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act on the climate emergency.
Creative Dharma to host online event
The Creative Dharma newsletter will be hosting an online event, Creativity and contemplative inquiry: a conversation with Jacqui O’Reilly, on 16 October 2021. Jacqui is an artist and musician whose art practice includes experimenting with sound, video and installation as artistic intervention within the ecological crises of our time.
If you are on Facebook or Twitter, we would be grateful if you would ‘like’ and ‘share’ any item in this newsletter that you think is valuable or the newsletter itself. Look out for Secular Buddhist Network on Facebook; our Twitter account is @AFourFoldTask.