Set up in 2018, The Tuwhiri Project is a dharma publishing imprint and produces educational resources for secular dharma practitioners and communities, helping people find meaning in a difficult world. The Tuwhiri Project is the initiative of secular dharma practitioners in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. A word in te reo Maori, ‘tuwhiri’ means to disclose, reveal, divulge, make known, or a clue, a means of discovering or disclosing something lost or hidden, a hint, a tip, a pointer.
The Tuwhiri Project has produced two books and, in partnership with the Secular Buddhist Network, has created a free, online course which provides an introduction to the core ideas of secular Buddhism.
Tuwhiri’s latest project is a new monthly newsletter entitled Creative Dharma; the first issue will come out at the beginning of June 2020.
The major focus of this newsletter will be to examine the ways that dharma practitioners can bring creativity into their meditation practice. It will also interest artists who would like to engage creatively with the dharma, and bring this sensibility into their practice of art.
Why Creative Dharma? In conversation, a Tuwhiri supporter observed that while ‘secular Buddhism’ suggested a set of ideas that may be acceptable, or might not, ‘creative dharma’ suggests tasks to be actively accomplished. Using the term ‘creative dharma’, this newsletter will set out secular Buddhist (or secular dharmic) concepts in clear, easy to understand, and engaging ways.
In a 1994 Tricycle magazine article, Stephen Batchelor wrote:
Rather than remaining the discrete preserve of the rare spiritual genius, how might creative imagination be released into the hands of every practitioner? Could we envisage a democracy of the imagination, in which each individual ceases to be a passive recipient of spiritual truths and becomes instead their active creator?
These words from some 26 years ago reflect and confirm my own experience of the propositions and practise of secular Buddhism since I first came across the teachings in early 2006: that it is a thoroughly creative approach to the dharma.
Speaking in Cambridge, UK, in May 2019, Stephen Batchelor suggested that ‘when we practise the dharma creatively, it’s an art in itself, in that we allow the imagination to run freely in ways that are not necessarily predictable, logical or rational, and so becomes a response from our whole being, from the heart. Our use of the imagination,’ he said, ‘can be thought of as a way of being in the world that goes beyond concepts, theories and doctrines.’
In these newsletters, contributors will explore and display the many ways in which a creative dharma can be an aesthetically rich and personally fulfilling way of practising the dharma. They will be in plain English, with as little jargon as possible, so that more people can directly benefit – in particular those whose first language isn’t English.
We hope that subscribers will use the newsletter as an opportunity to read, reflect, and create, and people are invited to get in touch at some point and let us know what creative dharma (the notion) and Creative Dharma (the newsletter) suggest to them.
To sign up for this newsletter, go to:
If you’d like to discuss contributing a piece of writing or an image to the newsletter, send a message through the Contact form on the Tuwhiri website.