Commercialised mindfulness meditation is to Buddhist meditation what McDonald’s offerings are to real cooking, the title of Ron Purser’s book infers. But there’s more to that title – it has antecedents, according to Sydney secular Buddhist teacher, Winton Higgins.
According to Winton Higgins, the foundation of Buddhists’ political engagement is the overarching ethical commitment to care, the responsibility to be ‘engaged as a moral agent in what is going on in one’s own life.’
Ramsey Margolis explains how Winton Higgins’ After Buddhism: a workbook, was produced as part of the creation of a new non-profit organisation dedicated to developing a secular dharma: The Tuwhiri Project.
The consummate guide to Stephen Batchelor’s After Buddhism: Rethinking the dharma for a secular age. Run a course or deepen your understanding.
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.’
Winton Higgins has written extensively about democratic communities and the development of secular Buddhism. In this article Winton offers some defining characteristics of a democratic sangha.
Winton Higgins writes “When western societies imported various strains of Asian Buddhism from the 1960s on, few converts noticed the organisational culture that came with the imports. Rather like the tarantula that arrives in the crate of imported bananas…”
Winton Higgins traces the origins of secular Buddhism in the in the Pali canon as developed by Harold Musson and Stephen Batchelor.
Winton Higgins urges secular Buddhists to be active citizens and contribute to social and political change. Given the crises facing our society, ‘nowadays politics matters like never before!’
Winton Higgins discusses the importance of not just giving lip service to the importance of community, or sangha, but making it a central part of our practice.