#28 January 2022
Welcome to our January 2022 newsletter.
This month we feature new articles by Alex Carr, John Danvers, and Jonathan Golden. We also announce the opening of registrations for SBN’s online course on secular Buddhism and a new program offered by Dave Smith. Finally, we provide an update on SBN’s monthly discussion group.
Digital distraction and the dharma
Alex Carr discusses how our engagement with our digital distractions (Netflix, videogames, Instagram, etc.) actually hinders our practice. In the modern world, our digital distractions can provide us with temporary relief from the symptoms of dukkha, but they also numb us and blunt our ability to engage positively in the world to address the underlying causes of dukkha in a skilful way.
Register now for SBN’s online course, Exploring a secular dharma
Registrations are now open for the Spring 2022 class of SBN’s online course on secular Buddhism. Course participants will explore key ideas and practices, including the fourfold task, a secular approach to meditation, and creating of ‘culture of awakening’ as an integral part of the path. Every two weeks during the course, participants will meet with the course instructors.
Secular Buddhism as a ‘paradigm shift’
Jonathan Golden uses Kuhn’s notion of a ‘paradigm shift’ to continue the dialogue on ‘truths’ and ‘tasks’ in secular Buddhism. He argues that Kuhn’s perspective is consistent with Mike Slott’s view of truths and tasks; while there are no absolute truths, our beliefs (provisional truth claims) are a necessary precondition for our practice, and practitioners should not be required to make a binary choice between truths and tasks.
For a summary of each article in the discussion, click here.
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 brief period of sharing about our meditation experiences. 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.
Registrations open for new Dharma Live/Online program
Dave Smith, a meditation teacher and co-founder of the Secular Dharma Foundation, is offering a new program beginning Wednesday, Feb. 2. The program – Dharma Live/Online – is a weekly practice group for those seeking a practical and accurate framework for the teachings of the Dharma.
Understanding and alleviating suffering (dukkha)
We suffer not only because we have the tendency to be angry, greedy, and deluded, but because social, political, and economic structures foster these tendencies and amplify their impact. John Danvers discusses the characteristics of a society which would facilitate their opposites: compassion, non-harming, cooperation, and mindfulness.
SBN’s online discussion group: an update
SBN’s monthly, online discussion group had its first meeting in January 2021 and has become an important forum and source of connection for a group of secular Buddhists in various regions of the world. The group is making some changes for the 2022 meetings and a new reading group is being formed.
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