Starting & sustaining a secular Buddhist sangha
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 is crucial not just for individual transformation but to promoting an egalitarian culture of awakening in which all beings can flourish. If you have any questions or would like assistance and advice on setting up and running a successful secular dharma community, send us a message through the form on the Contact page.
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.
My journey to secular Buddhism and the creation of the Exeter Meditation Circle
After many years of Soto Zen practice, John Danvers created a home for secular Buddhists by establishing the Exeter Meditation Circle in England in October 2016. The meetings of the group are simple and non-ritualistic, non-dogmatic and free of attachment to any particular teacher or tradition. Together, the group members are developing a secular Buddhist way of life that is of our time and place.
By John Danvers
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
EXPLORE SANGHA & COMMUNITY
Reflective meditation retreats as a space for independent and critical thinking
By Linda Modaro
Touching the earth: exploring a new, secular self-help mindfulness group approach
By Bill Gayner
Ted Meissner reflects on the past, present, and future of secular Buddhism
By Ted Meissner