Bernat Font provides a summary and review of Evan Thompson’s recent book, ‘Why I am not a Buddhist’. While criticizing key concepts in ‘Buddhist modernism’, Thompson asserts that, at its best, Buddhism can challenge our excessive confidence that science explains what the world really is like while offering a radical critique to our narcissistic concern with the self.
We have to choose between the freedom that is the condition of an open, awakened mind or to defend any kind of orthodoxy, traditional or not. If we choose the former, we need a wisdom that is capable of capturing every moment of wonder and in the next instant letting it go without any sense of regret or bewilderment.
To integrate contemplative practice into life requires more than becoming proficient in techniques of meditation. It entails the cultivation and refinement of a sensibility about the totality of your existence—from intimate moments of personal anguish to the endless suffering of the world.
Our challenge is to remain lucid, aware, and present. This is Gotama’s injunction and one of his main teachings. To understand this reality means, in traditional Buddhist terms, to understand the middle way, emptiness and not-self. It means entering the stream of the river of life to go against the current.
Touching the Earth groups aspire to treat participants as equals, where no one is paid to lead or facilitate, and each participant takes responsibility for cultivating their own path and for supporting others in cultivating theirs. The basic format involves meditation, journaling one’s meditation experience, and then exploring the meditation in triads.
Meditative practice enables us to develop a more present, lucid and conscious connection with what surrounds us, in the precise moment and place where we find ourselves. Meditative practice does not take us beyond that present moment in its totality. If anything, it leads us deeper, to union with it.
Dave Smith is an internationally recognized Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, and published author. We recently interviewed Dave about his approach to being a meditation teacher and his Secular Dharma Foundation.
Martine Batchelor discusses how concentration and experiential enquiry are the two basic elements of all forms of Buddhist meditation.
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.