Rethinking the Dharma / Reimagining Community #40 January 2023

Welcome to our January 2023 newsletter.

This month we highlight new articles by Lenorë Lambert, John Danvers, and Seth Zuiho Segall, a practitioner’s account of his journey to secular Buddhism, and Dave Smith’s online weekly practice community.


Secular Buddhism: to be or not to be a ‘Thing’

Lenorë Lambert argues that, if we want to share the benefits of the secular dharma with others, we need to define ourselves more clearly and offer some of the benefits provided by organized groups.

Find out more.

A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Steve

Steve Holdsambeck and his family were deeply involved for many years in the southern (USA) Methodist Church. However, through a very emotional and difficult transition, he began to question his Christian faith and developed an increasing interest in meditation, which eventually led to an interest in Stephen Batchelor’s books and secular Buddhism.

Find out more.

Learning, awakening, and empowerment

John Danvers contends that the development of secular approaches to Buddhist practice involves not only a radical reconsideration of institutional goals and structures but the development of more effective, transformative and egalitarian modes of learning.

Find out more.

Zen’s two paths

Seth Zuiho Segall highlights how in Zen the path of the gradual cultivation of wisdom and virtue and the path of immediate presence are complementary, each facilitating and enriching the other.

Find out more.

Dave Smith offers Dharma Live/Online

Led by Dave Smith, co-founder of the Secular Dharma Foundation, Dharma Live/Online is a weekly practice community for those seeking a practical and accurate framework for the teachings of the Dharma. Live Zoom sessions are held every Wednesday, 7 – 8:15pm MST. Participants will be engaged in practice and study of the core insights of the Dharma, guided by the teachings found within the earliest Buddhist tradition as preserved within the Pali Canon. Participants will practice and develop a Dharma path that can meet the complexity and challenges of the modern world.

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.

Buddhist Practice and Transforming Racism – Thursdays, 19 January to 23 February (online through New York Insight)
with Donald Rothberg

In this six-week course for those who identify as “white,” Donald will discuss transforming racism inside and outside as an integral part of our spiritual practice, from a framework of Buddhist teachings and practices. The course will be structured in a traditional way, into training in wisdom, meditation, and ethics (including action). Course participants will explore the Buddha’s rejection of caste in the India of nearly 2600 years ago; perspectives from core Buddhist wisdom teachings helpful for understanding and transforming race and racism; the origins and history of whiteness, race, racism, and multi-racial solidarity; the centrality of mindfulness and heart practices like lovingkindness, compassion, forgiveness, and empathy, to investigate and transform our conditioning around race and whiteness; working with difficult mind-states, emotions, and body states; grounding in ethical integrity and action, including wise speech; and the importance of community, including smaller communities that can be supportive home bases, relatively free of “shame and blame.” For more information, click here.


If you are on Facebook, 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.


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