Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Your silly questions please

Some of you know that for the past few years I've been working on a book designed to be a secular introduction to the dharma for newbies. It'll be called 'Whatever Floats Your Boat: A Secular Introduction to the Teachings of the Buddha.'

I'm currently on day 9 of an 11 day solo retreat to try and finish the first draft. The first half is an FAQ with answers from a secular perspective. Does anyone have any more questions that they remember asking when first dating the dharma? Please add them as a comment if you do.

Who was the Buddha?
What is the dharma about?
Does the dharma state that all of life is suffering?
Is the dharma just meditation or mindfulness?
Does Buddhism have a sacred text?
Does the dharma teach passivity - accepting rather than acting?
Is yoga a part of the dharma?
Is the Dalai Lama a Buddha?
Why are some Buddhas fat?
Is there one ‘right’ way to meditate?
Do I have to believe in rebirth or reincarnation to practice the dharma?
What is karma?
Is Buddhism a religion?
Which ‘school’ of the dharma should I explore?
Do I need to go to an Asian country to learn Buddhism?
Do I need to find a ‘teacher’?
How do I float my own boat?
What are the basic tenets of the dharma?
What is awakening?



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Four Frontiers of Secular Buddhism - workshop notes available

I recently attended a weekend workshop by Winton Higgins with the above title here in Sydney. It was a stimulating weekend of meditation, talks and discussion. The four talks that were given throughout the workshop are now available. In addition to an introduction, they are:


  1. Nuancing our view of religion
  2. Finitude
  3. The numinous, the transcendent and the sublime, and
  4. Intensity in practice
They are well worth a read and are available here (articles are listed in alphabetical order).

Coming soon: a 5 minute mini-podcast introduction to meditation.

Enjoy!

Warm regards
Lenore



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Some great new articles

Over the past weeks I've been adding some great new resources to this site. In particular, as part of 'Resources for the mind' I've added a whole bunch of really interesting articles. 

Many of these are dharma talks given by Winton Higgins at my local sangha, along with one each from Stephen Batchelor, Glenn Wallis and Gregory Kramer. Some have brief introductions. Some don't yet. But they will do soon.

If any of these titles pique your interest, feel free to help yourself:

  • Narcissism and not-self
  • Bumpy bits without quick fixes
  • Kindness
  • Adaptation and authenticity
  • Enlightenment
  • The big picture (a great overview of where the different 'Buddhisms' fit)
  • The truth of interpersonal suffering
Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection

Click here to go to the articles page. Stay tuned, there's more coming soon.
Lenore

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Re-vamped web site

I'm pleased to say that after many months of being in the doldrums this web site is in the final stages of being transferred and fixed (again!). We were having no end of technical troubles but they are sorted now. Those who had subscribed to the site by email will soon receive requests to confirm their subscription to this updated site. Then we will be back in business.

There are lots of fabulous new resources that have been added in the meantime. I'll post a summary soon.

Warm regards
Lenore

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The power of vulnerability

Two in one week – I’m on fire!

This TED Talk by Brene Brown is just gold – a must see! It is so dharmic I had to put it under 4 different ‘Resources for the Heart’ headings.
The need for connection with others is a fundamental part of being human. Brene’s research into connectedness showed shame to be a heart-stopping disconnector. She followed the theme further and found that the willingness to be with our own vulnerability is key to connecting with others. She also found some characteristics which differentiate those who embrace their vulnerability from those who are just too afraid to look at it and some common but also some not-so-obvious methods of aversion. These include portraying uncertainty as certainty (she highlights the self righteous approach to religion in particular), blame (a way of discharging difficult feelings), and pursuing perfection.
Oh, and the key job of parents? Not to make their kids perfect or over-achievers but to have them believe they are worthy of love and connection. They are wired for struggle, so they will work life out themselves – as long as they believe they are worthy of love (I’ve been saying this for years!).
The Power of Vulnerability is an entertaining and touching talk. I couldn’t speak for about 5 minutes afterwards – it’s a real heart opener. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Warm regards
Lenorë
P.S. Don’t forget to submit your favourite resources for the heart!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

From Plato to NATO of traditional Buddhism


Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana…what the???
Newcomers to the dharma are often confused by the many different Buddhist traditions that exist, where they came from, what they are, and how they relate to each other. Are they just like the different denominations of Christianity? How are they different? All of these questions and more are addressed in this fabulous talk by Winton Higgins called From Plato to NATO. It’s a great overview of the dharma’s key lines of development as it wove through and into Asian cultures in the centuries after Gotama’s death. A great big picture talk.
This was recorded at Beaches Sangha here in Sydney. I hope you enjoy being a virtual member!
Warm regards
Lenorë

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Two important new articles

i’m pleased to let you know that the hot-off-the-press edition of Journal of Global Buddhism includes two excellent and important articles on secular Buddhism. This is a highly respected academic, peer reviewed journal that is available on the web for free.
The first article is by the unofficial  figurehead of the secular Buddhism movement, Stephen Batchelor called A Secular Buddhism. This definitive article gives a great summary of Stephen’s secular approach to the dharma. He suggests that secular Buddhism is not just a re-working of the traditional approaches to make them digestible to our modern world, but a re-thinking of the core ideas, starting with the ‘four noble truths’ as invitations to act rather than propositions to be believed. If I were a betting woman I’d say this article is likely to shake things up a bit.
The second article is by our own Winton Higgins (didn’t know you belonged to us did you Winton?) called The Coming of Secular Buddhism: A Synpotic View. This article describes the forces that have led to and shaped the secular approach. Don’t let the academic-sounding abstract deter you, the article is accessible, educative and enjoyable. Having said that it doesn’t hurt to have www.dictionary.com open in the background if you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.
I’ve also placed links to these articles in Resources for the Mind and added a new movie toResources for the Heart.
Any feedback on which bits of the material you’re finding helpful is most welcome.
Warm regards
Lenore