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.


Warm regards

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.

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

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
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

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

Monday, January 21, 2013

Podcast available – the last three folds of the eight-fold path

Hi all. After conquering many new apps and open source programs I’ve taught myself how to get recorded talks from my phone into mp3 format, edit them and publish them on here through dropbox. I can’t say I ever had a burning desire to learn these skills but the upside is it’s allowed me to put the first podcast up on this site which is a talk given by Winton Higgins late last year on the last three folds of the eight-fold path (effort, mindfulness and concentration). I requested this talk primarily because I didn’t feel I really understood the last fold which is usually called ‘concentration’. As you’ll find out, it doesn’t mean concentration in the way we tend to use the word. A better term is ‘mental integration’.

The recording was done as part of our weekly sangha meets – outside on the deck in a bush setting, so you’ll hear an owl, some kookaburras and a few other outdoor noises…as well as a few left of centre questions by a blow-in sangha attendee. My next lesson will be how to filter out a bit of that (not the owl and the kookaburra of course). It’s a pretty good recording though. Here’s a quick link to the dropbox file. Enjoy!
Warm regards