Welcome to our April 2023 newsletter.
This month we highlight an interview with Stephen Batchelor on Mindfulness Based Ethical Living, a new article by Bhikkhu Santi, a practitioner’s account of her journey to secular Buddhism, and an upcoming secular dharma retreat with Stephen Batchelor, Winton Higgins, and Lenorë Lambert.
An interview with Stephen Batchelor on Mindfulness Based Ethical Living (MBEL)
On 22 February 2023, Stephen Batchelor was interviewed by Ayda Duroux, Saskia Graf, and Jochen Weber from Buddha-Stiftung, and Mike Slott from the Secular Buddhist Network. Stephen discussed the key aspects of a new practical and ethical philosophy, Mindfulness Based Ethical Living (MBEL). Currently, a group of secular Buddhists are working to create an online course on this topic.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Kathy
Kathy Lang was introduced to Buddhism after she retired. She found that key Buddhist insights resonated with the therapeutic approach she used as a volunteer helping families with loved ones dealing with addiction. She particularly appreciates the secular Buddhist emphasis on bringing the practice to everyday life and the the view of nirvana as a process of reducing reactivity, rather than as the metaphysical goal of a state beyond our present reality.
Getting the ball rolling: a new translation of the title of the Buddha’s first teaching
Bhikkhu Santi contends that an alternative translation of the title of the Buddha’s first teaching better conveys the need to take up and practice the Buddha’s valuable insights, yet also to experiment with, modify, and improve them.
Secular dharma and ethical living study retreat – December 2023
This residential study retreat will explore through talks and dialogues how the dharma taught by the Buddha 2,500 years ago can help provide the ethical perspectives and practices needed to engage effectively with the various interconnected crises our world faces in the twenty-first century — economic, environmental, social, psychological and spiritual. The retreat will be taught by Stephen Batchelor, Winton Higgins, and Lenorë Lambert; and will be offered in-person in Australia and online from 3 December to 10 December 2023. There are still some openings for in-person registration.
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 groups – SBN offers two meditation groups. Our Sunday group meets every Sunday at 11 am US Eastern Time. We also have a group which meets Monday through Friday, at 1 pm US Eastern Time.
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.
Online group on Secular Dharma in the Community – meets the first Friday of every month. This discussion group for those who wish to share their experiences of and discuss new possibilities for bringing secular Buddhist ideas, ethics, and practices to community groups, social service organizations, and political movements.
SBN online course 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.
Mindfulness and the Four Noble Truths – Thursday, 6 April (online through New York Insight)
with Dave Smith
Across the many forms of Buddhist lineages and traditions no single teaching carries as much weight as that of the four noble truths. How can we bring the teachings of the four noble truths into our practice and cultivation of mindfulness? How can we bring these ideas into the everyday moments of our lives? During this evening, Dave Smith will outline a framework and a set of practices that will bring these ideas to life. For more information, click here.
Curious Questioning: a Reflective Meditation retreat – Thursday, 28 April to 1 May (online)
with Linda Modaro and Nelly Kaufer
Reflective Meditation is rooted in questioning and discernment. There are many forms of questioning: some open up our views and uncover more about experience. Others are too probing or provoking and feel judgmental; they close down inquiry and exploration. We want you to be more curious about your questions. Know when they lead to self doubt and take you down. When they go towards more ingredients for wisdom. On this retreat, we’ll discern how we question ourselves about our meditative and life experiences. We’ll cultivate a kinder curiosity in our reflective process. For more information, click here.
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