Rethinking the Dharma / Reimagining Community #39 December 2022

November 27, 2022

Welcome to our December 2022 newsletter.

This month we highlight a series of workshops by Stephen Batchelor on Mindfulness Based Ethical Living,  a practitioner’s account of his journey to secular Buddhism,  a new article by Bernat Font-Clos, and an online course on the dharma of social engagement offered by David Loy.

Stephen Batchelor’s Program on Mindfulness Based Ethical Living

Stephen Batchelor offered a series of four workshops in October on the topic of ‘Mindfulness Based Human Flourishing (MBHF): The Ethics and Philosophy of Mindful Living’. The workshops explored the role of mindfulness practice as a key to flourishing in every aspect of human life.

Participants have come together after the program to work on various projects to develop this approach, which is now called “Mindfulness Based Ethical Living” or MBEL. One of the projects is to create an 8-week course which can be offered online or in-person.

Find out more.

A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Keith

Keith Clanton’s initial religious experience was with Christianity, but he has been interested in Buddhism for many decades. He finds that Buddhist teachings in a secular/agnostic form fit well with how he sees the world. Keith has taken vows with a group called the Secular Buddhist Tradition (SBT) and is also active in various SBN groups.

Find out more.

On our fixation with the early texts

Arguing against the widespread view that the commentaries on the suttas are ossified and scholastic readings of the teachings, Bernat Font-Clos urges us to be open to finding in them important insights for our practice.

Find out more.

The dharma of social and ecological engagement: an online course

David Loy is offering an online course which explores the relationship between core Buddhist teachings on non-self, suffering, and karma and engagement and the key social and economic challenges of our time. The course addresses issues such as consumerism, the commodification of our attention, war, and climate change. Participants will learn how to integrate individual Buddhist practice with the engagement our world desperately needs—a modern bodhisattva path.

Find out more.

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.

The Path of Mindfulness: Livestreamed from Gaia House – 3 December to 8 December (online)
with Martine Batchelor and Bernat Font-Clos

During this retreat, Martine and Benat will be exploring the different aspects of mindfulness (sati) as memory, as investigation, as protection, as presence of mind. Each day they will focus on one of the four ways of establishing mindfulness: body, feeling tones, mind states and dharmas. Participants will experience the healing and connecting qualities that mindfulness can bring to one’s day to day living.. For more information, click here.

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