Venerable Tenzin Tharpa discusses his path from Tibetan Buddhist monasticism to becoming a secular Buddhist monastic. He formed the Secular Buddhist Tradition (SBT), an international community dedicated to sharing a practical and accessible presentation of the buddhadharma focused on the positive life-affirming message of the Buddha.
Robert M. Ellis explains that his Middle Way Philosophy shares with secular Buddhism a critical approach to the Buddhist tradition, but he argues that ‘secular’ is not a term that provides the criteria we need to skillfully interrogate Buddhism and other traditions.
Bodhi College’s Secular Dharma course takes a secular rather than a religious approach to the teachings of the Buddha. The course emphasizes the humanity of Gotama and the practical applications of his teaching in this world, and encourage each student to find his or her own way of practice within the secular/religious spectrum of their own lives.
To avoid the superiority conceit pervasive in debates within Buddhism, secular Buddhists need to recognize two key points: 1) our approach to the Buddha’s teachings is only one of many legitimate approaches and 2) Buddhism, whether, in a secular or traditional form, does not provide us with all the answers to the key challenges that we face today.
Richard Winter presents the 59 slogans of the Tibetan teachings on ‘Mind-Training’ in a style that is familiar and accessible not just for ‘Buddhists’ but for any of us who, irrespective of systems of belief or cultural allegiances, are open to the appeal of Buddhist-inspired meditation practice, as a resource for trying to flourish in a difficult world.
As part of the 30th anniversary celebration of Tricycle magazine, Stephen Batchelor and Ruth Ozeki discussed the role of creativity in their work and in the dharma. They both emphasized that creativity depends on cultivating a sense of inner openness and relaxation, a loosening of attachment to a fixed notion of the self.
The Tuwhiri Project is a publishing imprint which was initiated by secular dharma practitioners in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. As well as publishing books, Tuwhiri helped to develop the Secular Buddhist Network’s online course, Exploring a secular dharma and publishes Creative Dharma, a newsletter.
While digital technologies are, in themselves, neither the problem nor the solution, they contribute to making us increasingly divided and distrusting of one another. Dan Nixon argues that we can begin to create something better by cultivating an ongoing, open-ended spirit of questioning towards all we encounter in our digitally-mediated experience by asking: what is this?
The Secular Buddhist Network online group held its second meeting 18 February. The focus for most of the meeting was a discussion of Stephen Batchelor’s ‘ten theses of secular dharma,’ which appears at the end of his 2015 book, After Buddhism: Rethinking the dharma for a secular age.
In a dharma talk given to the Community Meditation Center (New York City, USA), Stephen Batchelor discussed a secular perspective on the Noble Eightfold Path.