Monday, June 28, 2021

When the 'wellness' industry doesn't get it


I saw this in the supermarket aisle example of how the wellness industry doesn't always align with the dharma.

Wellbeing? Yes.
Mindfulness? Yes.
Creativity? Yes.
Escaping? Nup. Well... not when it comes to our response to difficulty anyway.

The dharma is about confrontation with the reality of life, not consolation - escaping or transcending it. The latter is the business of religion. The Buddha was on about how to flourish in THIS life, here now.

Of course, sometimes in the moment, if we're in the grip of a strong reaction, or if we're in a toxic situation, removing ourselves can be skillful. So a temporary escape can be part of good practice, while we self-soothe or muster our resilience and energy.

Or 'escaping' from the everyday occasionally for some quiet time, a retreat perhaps, some joy, fun or regeneration. But these things are very transient (anyone remember the post-holiday blues?) Even meditation retreats 'wear off' soon enough.

Other than some temporary regeneration, escaping doesn't have much to offer wellbeing in any kind of structural way. Instead, we can learn to meet everything that comes with curiousity and courage.

The dharma offers us the challenge of dismantling our reactive habits which is a hugely powerful tactic to increase our wellbeing. But we need to reverse our habit of escaping unpleasant experiences in order to do that so that we can get to know them and disempower them.

What role does 'escape' play in your life?

(Click here for my just-launched book - The Buddha for Modern Minds: A non-religious guide to the Buddha and his teachings. )

Monday, June 7, 2021

I didn't tell you about my book!


Today a friend pointed out to me that I hadn't actually posted about my new book on this website. I'd done so on the Facebook Page, but not here! Those of you who've subscribed to emails from the website are likely to be JUST the people who'd want to read it!! 


So..... in March this year I finally published the book I started writing no less than NINE years ago! It's called The Buddha for Modern Minds: A non-religious guide to the Buddha and his teachings.

The first half is like an FAQ - all of the questions that people (like me) tend to ask when they're first exploring the dharma (teachings of the Buddha). 

In here you'll also find some really succinct summaries of the teachings, who the Buddha was (not a prince!) and answers to many of the questions and confusions you might have.

The second half covers the key planks of the Buddha's teachings in more depth. The conventional Buddhisms call these the Four Noble Truths, but it's highly unlikely that this is what the Buddha called them. They're more usefully called the Four Tasks, or as I call them, the Four Great Tasks (because they're both challenging and noble, if not in name, definitely in nature).

You can check out a quick summary of it here on my website, or there's a more detailed summary on amazon where you can also buy it (as well as other good online bookstores, or if you're in Sydney, from Windhorse Books in Newtown).

If you know anyone else who's a bit curious about the dharma, please do recommend them to it. This is not a commercial exercise for me - I'll never so much as break even on the cost of producing it - it's my gift to others wanting to live a more conscious and fulfilling life. I've been getting fabulous feedback about it - a really easy read apparently. 

I hope you like it!


Monday, May 31, 2021

Interview with Winton Higgins

In case you missed it....last night I held a discussion with Winton Higgins for the launch of his book titled Revamp: Writings on Secular Buddhism.

I feel incredibly lucky to have had access to Winton's vast knowledge as I learnt about the dharma. He taught at our local Beaches Sangha for eight years and we never managed to cook up a question he couldn't answer!

He's captured the gold in this book which is a wonderful guide to the emergence of Secular Buddhism as the latest development in the history of Buddhism, its affinities with western philosophy, and its implications for practice at a personal, community and global level.

Grab yourself a cuppa and settle in for our chat. There are two short patches where the sound thins out or dulls (unfortunately one of these is the start of his endorsement of my book!), but these resolve pretty quickly, so hang in there.

Password: JN?ft38e
I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

How to Stop Bigotry

With issue of human bigotry front and centre in our sphere at the moment, I think it's more important than ever to look closely at this issue.
This post is a thought-provoker. Possibly the most important one I've ever written. I can tell you how to stop bigotry - which is responsible for most harmful human behaviour.
This is an issue relevant to dharma practice because 'racism' as we call it, like all other bigotry, is the action of individuals. Thought, feeling, action. They're the main players here. We swim in this all the time.
Every one of us can undermine bigotry. Every day. Even if we don't know a single person with dark skin.
Are you up for it? If so, you can read my article here.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Some great secular dharma resources

A quick post to share some great resources..... 

I've just finished chatting with a dharma colleague in the US who's been collaborating on this new web site called The Secular Buddhist Network. It has loads of great resources on there including a dana based (generosity based - no fixed fee) online course in secular dharma and LOTS more. 

I've collected a number of great links to resources on the 'Links' page on Secular Buddhism Australia. Feel free to check out both of these.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Falling Off the Wagon

Curiosity is key to insight in dharma practice. When we fall off the wagon in our practice, let ourselves down on an important undertaking, curiosity is a great replacement for the voice of criticism.

'Good practice' is attending to and learning from our experience, whether that's cruising along nicely atop the wagon, or falling off ungracefully again and again. Read more

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Online Dharma Course with Gregory Kramer

Hi all.

I want to let you know of an upcoming online dharma course being run by Gregory Kramer. 

Greg is most well known for creating the practice of Insight Dialogue (treating dialogue as meditation), however he is also a fabulous dharma teacher. He's about to release his next book about treating your whole life as the dharma path and this 10 week online course is based on that. It will look at each "fold" in the Eightfold Path and what that means in practice especially in these strange times.

I highly recommend Gregory to you. If this course is of interest, don't miss it! For more info, click here.

Warm regards