Mike Slott argues that the purpose of meditation for secular Buddhists is to cultivate certain virtues and insights which are crucial to promoting human flourishing in this world, not the attainment of nirvana.
At a Sŏn-style retreat in which the question ‘What is this?’ is posed Martine Batchelor explains that all forms of meditation practice are all based on two fundamental elements – anchoring and experiential inquiry.
In his 2015 book After Buddhism Stephen Batchelor argues that the goal of meditation for secular Buddhists is not achieving nirvana but gaining an embodied understanding of our experiences from moment to moment.
Winton Higgins asserts that ‘we meditate to experience this world and this life as vividly as possible. Intensely. The way we experience it reflects back at us – it tells us who we are and where we’re at in this moment.’
From a secular Buddhist perspective, Mike Slott contends that meditation should not be about reaching or accessing nirvana, but developing the capacity to become wiser, more compassionate, and mindful.
Mike Slott argues in this article that traditional meditation retreats in insight and Zen centers are too individually-focused, that there needs to be more opportunities to develop a sense of community and comraderie among retreat participants. He offers “practical suggestions on how solidarity and support between retreatants, as well as a greater focus on our engagement in the world, can become part of meditation retreats.”
In the second of three talks at a day-long workshop in New Zealand in 2019 Winton Higgins discusses the old and new obstacles to developing our inner life through mindfulness meditation.
Something that goes by the name ‘mindfulness meditation’ is a hot commodity these days. You can find many models on the market, some are more or less expensive, and of varying quality (like cars and dishwashers). The brands that are on the market either claim claiming origins in the Buddhist tradition, which lends them the kudos and the aura of ancient wisdom, or studiously avoid doing so.
In this talk given in 2018 Winton Higgins compares the expectations of people living in the Buddha’s era (5th century BCE) about meditation practice, and to our own views about the goals of meditation.
Mike Slott argues that the goal of meditation is to become a more mindful and compassionate person, one who can contribute to creating a society in which all human beings can flourish.