Rethinking the Dharma / Reimagining Community #41 February 2023

January 27, 2023

Welcome to our February 2023 newsletter.

This month we highlight an interview with Nelly Kaufer and Linda Modaro on their new book on reflective meditation, a practitioner’s account of his journey to secular Buddhism,  and a new article by Dennis SengTing Oliver. We also feature an important 2015 dharma talk by Winton Higgins on a secular approach to Insight meditation.

An interview on reflective meditation with Nelly Kaufer and Linda Modaro

Nelly Kaufer and Linda Modaro’s new book, Reflective Meditation: Cultivating Kindness and Curiosity in the Buddha’s Company, is available this month. In an interview with SBN, Nelly and Linda discussed their approach to meditation, dharma teaching, and their relationship to secular Buddhism.

Find out more.

A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Ronn

Ronn Smith began an intensive study of Buddhism at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS) in 2008 and then gravitated toward a secular approach through an engagement with Stephen Batchelor’s writings. For Ronn, the ethical and philosophical dimensions of secular dharma are crucial; in particular, he values the emphasis on flourishing and care rather than on suffering.

Find out more.

Secular monks?

Dennis SengTing Oliver, a secular monk in the Centre for Pragmatic Buddhism in Scotland, offers a balanced assessment of the reasons for and against having secular monks within the Buddhist community.

Find out more.

SBN’s online course on secular dharma, SBN’s new meditation group

SBN’s Exploring a Secular Dharma course: We offer a free online course that introduces  participants to the basic concepts and practices of a secular approach to the dharma. We still have a few openings in the Spring 2023 course, which begins February 22. For more information or to enroll in the course, click here

New SBN Meditation Group: Tim Raine, a co-facilitator of SBN’s Sunday online meditation group, has taken the initiative to start a new meditation group which meets Monday through Friday, at 1 pm US Eastern Time. For more information, click here.

Winton Higgins on a secular approach to insight meditation

Using the foundational text of the Satipatthāna sutta, Winton Higgins explored the differences between the traditional model of insight meditation and a secular approach in a dharma talk given in New Zealand in October 2015. While the traditional model of insight meditation emphasizes a structured, formulaic, and goal-oriented path to progress, a secular approach enable us to “reoccupy the whole territory that the sutta maps.” 

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.

Upcoming courses and retreats  – Click here for a listing of upcoming courses, programs, and retreats of interest for secular Buddhists and socially engaged Buddhists.

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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