Essential elements and key ideas of secular Buddhism

Adhering to the pragmatic and ethical guidelines for human flourishing taught by the historical Buddha, Gotama, secular Buddhists set aside the cultural and supernatural overlays that Buddhism has acquired as it has traveled around the world. We do not pretend that ours is the definitive version of Buddhism, but we do regard it as having its foundation in Gotama’s original teachings, and being in tune with key progressive values in the modern world – democracy, social justice, and equality.  

On this page, you will find recommended reading that will introduce and explore this subject, as well as articles by a number of writers that will help you to dig deeper.


Flowers in a field by Jim Champion

Budismo ¿secular? 

Secular dharma lowers the moon of nirvana down to our reach. It is no longer treated as a metaphysical reality distinct from everything we could conceive, or as a goal farther than far: it is about living each moment of our life from that place of non-greed, non-aversion and non-confusion.

By Bernat Font

The core concept of secular Buddhism: a fourfold task 

The core teachings and insights of Gotama are not ‘truths’ to be believed but a ‘fourfold’ task to help us live our lives in a mindful and compassionate way.

By Stephen Batchelor

An introduction to secular Buddhism 

For those who are curious about or interested in secular Buddhism and want to learn about this relatively new trend within Buddhism, this article will provide a helpful starting point for exploring a secular approach to the dharma.

By SBN Editor

Stephen Batchelor on coming out as a secular Buddhist 

When Stephen Batchelor first self-identified as a secular Buddhist in 2012 he said that ‘I see the aim of Buddhist practice to be the moment-to-moment flourishing of human life within the ethical framework of the eightfold path.’

By Stephen Batchelor


Secular Buddhism

Flowers in a field by Jim Champion

By Bernat Font

Dharma talks for secular Buddhists

By SBN Editor

An outline of secular Buddhism – a living tradition

By Winton Higgins

Creating & maintaining a secular dharma community is not easy

By Leon Frampton

Sylvie Vanasse on secular Buddhist sangha: admirable friendship

By Sylvie Vanasse

Seth Zuihō Segall and Winton Higgins debate the meaning and value of secular Buddhism

By SBN Editor

Teaching the dharma, avoiding ‘the ego trap’

By Alex Carr

Reflections for ‘Pluralism Sunday’ at St Andrew’s on The Terrace

By Ramsey Margolis