Sunday, January 27, 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 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

Tuesday, January 22, 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

Monday, January 7, 2013

Some good stuff coming

Posted on 

Phew! Craziness of the silly season is over. Happy new year everyone! Finally some time to get posting some more good stuff for secularish Buddhistish types.
I’ve just put up a link under Resources for the Mind (Links to other Resources) to an article summarising some scientific evidence for the idea that pursuing happiness itself is a source of dukkha. I’ve mentioned before the fabulous book by Barry Magid called Ending the Pursuit of Happiness which encourages us to embrace the whole catastrophe of life rather than clinging to happiness as if it were something we could have all the time. This article summarises some of the perils of getting too single-minded about happiness or extremes of happiness.
I’ve also included a link to a positive, proactive news site called Yes! Magazine. I’ve been starting to include such things in my media consumption to help balance out the natural negativity bias of the brain.
More good stuff to come soon.