Colette Descent

A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Craig
Craig Murphy encountered Buddhist-inspired meditation practices through John Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR approach in the early 1990s. Craig has found that a secular approach which eschews metaphysics to be most consistent with his perspective toward life and society.
Bringing the secular dharma to my community
Colette Descent describes a course she teaches at a community center for older adults which incorporates key secular dharma concepts without the use of Buddhist terminology.
An exciting new global movement – the Global Compassion Coalition
Colette Descent discusses the Global Compassion Project, a new organization initiated by Rick Hanson and others, to inspire individuals, organizations, and governments to address the causes of suffering and to build communities of care and belonging.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Tom
Tom Cummings initially practiced Vipassana meditation, but he has found that secular Buddhism’s emphasis on our present human life as the one and only existence we have aligns well with the agnostic humanist perspective he has embraced for many years.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Jim
Jim Bronson connected with the Theravāda tradition and Insight meditation over 20 years ago, after the death of his first wife. As a scientist, he was attracted to the secular aspects of Theravāda and began to learn more about secular Buddhism. He finds inspiration in Stephen Batchelor’s view that ‘a secular Buddhist is one who is committed to the practice of the dharma for the sake of this world alone.’
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Kathy
Kathy Lang 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.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Cathryn
Cathryn Jacob became disillusioned with the dogmatism of an independent, charismatic church when she was young and was an atheist for many years. As part of her process of recovery later in life, Cathryn found that the Secular Dharma provided her with the concepts, skills and practices to ‘live life on life’s terms’, to flourish, and to help others do the same.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Ronn
Ronn Smith began an intensive study of Buddhism at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS) in 2008 and then gravitated toward a secular approach through an engagement with Stephen Batchelor’s writings. For Ronn, the ethical and philosophical dimensions of secular dharma are crucial; in particular, the emphasis on flourishing and care rather than on suffering.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Steve
Steve Holdsambeck and his family were deeply involved for many years in the southern (USA) Methodist Church. However, through a very emotional and difficult transition, he began to question his Christian faith and developed an increasing interest in meditation, which eventually led to an interest in Stephen Batchelor’s books and secular Buddhism.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Keith
Keith Clanton’s initial religious experience was with Christianity but he has been interested in Buddhism for many decades. He finds that Buddhist teachings in a secular/agnostic form fit well with how he sees the world. Keith has taken vows with a group called the Secular Buddhist Tradition (SBT) and is also active in various SBN groups.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Katie
Katie first became interested in meditation and Buddhism through her yoga practice. She found that secular Buddhism’s focus on how we can live a good and full life while we are here deeply resonated with her. 
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Ira
As a journalist, Ira met some of Buddhism’s most important teachers and became interested in the dharma. As an agnostic, he finds a secular approach particularly valuable because there is less emphasis on beliefs and more on what contributes to wellbeing in this life.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Kate
Kate’s interest in Buddhism began when she was a college student and developed further while she was a Peace Corps volunteer and program manager. Over time, she became increasingly skeptical of the adherence to hierarchy and rituals in many Buddhist traditions and moved toward a secular approach to the dharma, one which does not lean on enlightenment as a goal, but fosters a practice that is ethical, practical, compassionate and forward looking.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Katya
Katya grew up in a culturally Jewish, Leftist family in New York City and became involved with a Buddhist sangha in 2001. When her sangha refused to engage politically around issues of racism after the murder of George Floyd, she connected with the Secular Buddhist Network and has become an active participant.
A practitioner’s journey to secular Buddhism: Tim
Tim grew up in a Christian household, but found a disconnect between his church’s teachings and how church members lived their lives. He was introduced to Buddhism over 20 years ago and learned about secular Buddhism in the course of his explorations. Colette Descent edited the interview for SBN.
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