Starting & sustaining secular Buddhist groups and sanghas

The Vietnamese Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh once said that ‘the next Buddha will be a sangha’. Secular Buddhists believe that creating and sustaining democratic sanghas – communities of practitioners – is crucial not just for individual transformation but to promoting an egalitarian culture of awakening in which all beings can flourish.

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


Students in a room

Bringing secular dharma practitioners together – the perils and joys of setting up and running a sitting group

Ramsey Margolis sets out his experience creating and sustaining a secular dharma community in Aotearoa New Zealand, and offers some practical tips on how to make one work.

By Ramsey Margolis

Exploring the meaning of community

The community of practitioners – the sangha – is a crucial aspect of the dharmic path for secular Buddhists. But what do we mean by community? How is a community different than other forms of collective organizations? How do we create a true community of practitioners that help each other develop their practice and contribute to a ‘culture of awakening’?

By SBN Editor

Moving away from hierarchy and toward democratic sanghas

Developing a secular dharma which is relevant to our contemporary world requires us to engage in a serious examination of traditional models and practices of the community of practitioners – the sangha – and to be willing to experiment with new, more democratic forms.

By SBN Editor

Four bonds of fellowship that help build community

Martine Batchelor discusses the four bonds of fellowship that help build community at a Gaia House talk. What are these four bonds? Generosity, kind words, beneficial help and consistency.

By Martine Batchelor


Meditators needed for a collaborative photography project 

By Cameron Macfie

Tirylan House: A new retreat centre for integrative practice 

By Robert M. Ellis

What you think about this website and our monthly newsletter? 

By SBN Editor

Creating & maintaining a secular dharma community is not easy 

By Leon Frampton

A queer critique of Buddhist renunciation 

By Bernat Font-Clos

An online group for secular Buddhists 

By SBN Editor

A new Facebook group for secular Buddhists: Mindful Feminists 

By Freida Maverick

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

By Freida Maverick