Beginning with Seth Zuihō Segall’s article, ‘Why I am not a secular Buddhist,’ Seth and Winton Higgins have engaged in a dialogue on SBN about the meaning and value of secular Buddhism. They have discussed the notion of secularity, religion and religious experience, the role of community, and other key issues.
In his reply to Seth Zuihō Segall’s rejoinder in the debate over secular Buddhism Winton Higgins explores the meaning of secularity, religion, and the everyday sublime. He argues that a secular faith is not opposed to religion but is characterized by a deep engagement, a wholehearted commitment, to living this, our one and only life, meaningfully.
Seth Zuihō Segall considers his ‘naturalized’ and ‘eudaimonic’ approach to Buddhism ‘close cousins’ to secular Buddhism. Yet, he believes that the word ‘secular’ implies a set of connotations he does not wish to affirm.
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.
Despite the claims of some critics, secular Buddhists are not anti-religious and the goal of a secular dharma is not simply stress reduction but a radical transformation of individuals and society.
These two questions were posted to an online interactive session with Stephen Batchelor during a Bodhi College course in December 2016.
In this talk in 2013 Winton Higgins argues that religion is best understood from a pragmatic perspective. He says that “our ancestors developed our religious traditions as tools in aid of survival, well-being and self-improvement. Along with other significant inventions, they have served us well and utterly transformed us into self-aware moral agents.”
In this article the key issue is whether ‘awakening’ in Buddhism has anything supernatural or distinctly ‘religious’ about it, or whether it is a natural capacity that can be understood in the light of evolutionary biology and cognitive science.
In this 2012 talk Winton Higgins discusses various meanings of secularity in relation to the development of a secular dharma.