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.


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

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

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


Creating sangha: a secular meditation group in Hamilton, New Zealand

By Freida Maverick

What next? two years of path in the Secular Dharma with Bodhi College

By Stefano Bettera

Making the most of the human condition #4

By Winton Higgins

A brief history of secular Buddhism

By SBN Editor

Sangha essentials – creating community & bonding

By Winton Higgins

Why I am not a secular Buddhist

By Seth Zuihō Segall

Jim Champion on meditation: what if I’m doing it wrong?

By Jim Champion

Creating & maintaining a secular dharma community is not easy

By Leon Frampton