Welcome to our October 2022 newsletter.
This month we highlight new articles by Carmel Shalev and Arnie Kozak, a dialogue on secular dharma, a practitioner’s account of his journey to secular Buddhism, and an upcoming workshop led by Stephen Batchelor on Mindfulness Based Human Flourishing.
A dialogue on secular dharma
At an online program on Perspectives on Secular Dharma, Stephen Batchelor, Seth Zuihō Segall, Karsten Struhl, and Mike Slott engaged in a wide-ranging dialogue on key topics related to a secular approach to the dharma.
The Buddha was a psychologist (maybe)
Arnie Kozak critiques the hagiographic myth of the God-like Buddha and presents Gotama’s dharma as a therapeutic praxis, based on important insights about human psychology.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Ira
As a journalist, Ira has met some of Buddhism’s most important teachers and became interested in the dharma. As an agnostic, he finds a secular approach particularly valuable because there is less emphasis on beliefs and more on what contributes to wellbeing in this life.
Wisdom, contemplation and action
In the second of three articles on the topic of Uncertainty, Care and Responsibility, Carmel Shalev discusses how the notion of not-self, mindfulness meditation, and the cultivation of the brahma-viharas are the crucial foundations of moral agency in this complex world.
Stephen Batchelor’s workshop on Mindfulness Based Human Flourishing
This series of four online workshops (8, 15, 22, and 29 October) will explore the role of mindfulness practice as a key to flourishing in every aspect of human life. The workshops will provide a comprehensive ethical, contemplative and philosophical framework for mindfulness, based on Stephen Batchelor’s secular interpretation of the Buddhist foundation of mindfulness.
Connect with the Secular Buddhist Network
Online discussion group – 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.
Online meditation group – meets every Sunday. Each meeting of the group lasts about 40 minutes. We start with a 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.
Online reading group – meets the first Thursday of each month. The readings are chosen by the participants and focus on issues related to a secular Buddhism, including basic concepts of a secular approach, meditation, mindfulness, and the relationship between secular Buddhism and traditional Buddhist lineages and practices.
Online group on Exploring aging from a secular Buddhist perspective – meets the last Monday of each month. The group shares experiences of aging and how we can use our practice to respond skillfully to the process of aging.
SBN online courses on Exploring a secular dharma – Learn about the basic ideas and concepts of secular Buddhism through a free online course.
Upcoming Events, Workshops, and Retreats
SBN’s Calendar of Meetings and Courses – A calendar of SBN sponsored discussion and meditation groups, as well as SBN’s courses on secular Buddhism.
Re-envisioning the Aggregates – 7 October to 9 October (online)
with Bill Wellhouse, Brad Parks and Anna Delacroix
During this online retreat, the teachers will approach the topic of the five aggregates with an open meditation practice followed by reflection and journaling. They welcome continuing students as well as meditators who are new to Reflective Meditation practice and retreats. The roots of this practice can be found in the Buddha’s early teachings and are based on learning to trust the ways of knowing that develop in meditation so that we may be more responsive and present in our everyday lives. For more information, click here.
Mindfulness of Feeling Tones – 12 October (online)
with Martine Batchelor
In this online event, Martine Batchelor will explore mindfulness of “feeling tones”. The Pali term vedana refers to the affective tone or coloring that accompanies each moment of our experience. When we come into contact with the environment through one of our six senses, we experience a pleasant, unpleasant or neutral emotional tone. It is important to see that tones of feeling are constructed, they are not given and not contained in the object we come into contact with. It is crucial to be aware of the tones of feeling as they arise extremely quickly and have a profound effect on our behavior. For more information, click here.
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