Secular Sangha: A Secular Buddhist Group discussion

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message 1: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Use this thread to introduce yourself.


message 2: by MJD (last edited Sep 28, 2018 06:11AM) (new)

MJD | 210 comments While I enjoy a wide rang of philosophy, I am particularly drawn to a secular reading of Buddhism. I mainly like the exploration how to achieve a state of personal equanimity, but I also like the ethics and other components of it. Apart from the pure philosophy that has come out of the Buddhist tradition, I also like exploring the mythology in a Joseph Campbell-like manner. Overall, to make matters short I would say that I generally agree with the approach that is taken in After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age.

In terms of Buddhist practice, I would say that I am fully committed to incorporating meditation into my daily life. While I have read a number of books on the subject, the book that really convinced me to get serious about meditating was Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert K. | 4 comments I've been meditating & studying Buddhism for about a year and a half. I practice Vipassana insight meditation. I've read "Seeking the Heart of Wisdom" by Joseph Goldstein & Jack Kornfield and "Why Buddhism is True" by Robert Wright. I also listen to the amazing podcast "the Insight Hour with Joseph Goldstein". I've also learned a great deal from this website:
http://www.vipassanadhura.com/dhammat...

I fell in love with the empirical aspect of Buddhism and its emphasis on experiential knowledge. I too have been working on incorporating meditation into my daily life. I usually meditate in my car before work and its been a wonderfully frustrating challenge to deal with the hindrances with the all noise and bustle of a busy parking lot!


message 4: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Robert wrote: "I've been meditating & studying Buddhism for about a year and a half. I practice Vipassana insight meditation. I've read "Seeking the Heart of Wisdom" by Joseph Goldstein & Jack Kornfield and "Why ..."

Welcome to the group Robert.


RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) (alwaydaddygirl) Aloha,

Mahalo for the invite! I am a lapsing Catholic which is a Catholic who rarley goes to grief. I still believe in Catholic Church. However, I feel there is more out there. I am going through grief and have not answers yet with Catholic Church.

Years ago, I read witchcraft and love most of it. I stop for stupid reasons.

Since grief, I am starting to read Buddhism, Native American Healing, Pagan again, etc. I really appreactice the books recommendations. Mahalo! I look forward to learning about Buddhism.

🇺🇸🤙


message 6: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments RM(Alwaysdaddygirl/Salemwitch) wrote: "Aloha,

Mahalo for the invite! I am a lapsing Catholic which is a Catholic who rarley goes to grief. I still believe in Catholic Church. However, I feel there is more out there. I am going through ..."


Welcome to the group. There is a wide rang of books on this group reading list (40 in all, all of which I have read and enjoyed).

Also, I want to point out that I purposely have about half the books on the list be free on kindle, for those on a budget.


message 7: by John (new)

John I'm a philosophical newbie. It's only been this past year that I've intently searched out and completed reading full texts that interested me. I've also been listening to a podcast, "Philosophize This", that is providing me with good background information. It's there that I got my first exposure to Buddhism. It was very mind opening. So I immediately ordered The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation by Thich Nhat Hanh.

While I've been Catholic since birth, I've always seen philosophical "holes" in some teachings. I have no intention of leaving the Church, but see no issue with exploring the concepts of Buddhism, including meditation, which I've always been interested in, but was skeptical of trying (which was made easier by lack of a teacher).

I'll be looking for copies of some of the texts you suggest, but I warn you, I'm a slow reader. I'll do my best to keep up though.

Thanks for starting the group.


message 8: by Lia (new)

Lia Thanks for the invite. I have nothing to say about buddhism, which might not be so awful afterall.

Weirdly, my interest is in ... nothing. I think that means I should shut up, but that’s not very satisfying. So maybe I can focus on ... almost nothing?

By way of “self” presentation or introduction, I like cracks, holes, shadows etc.


message 9: by MJD (last edited Oct 06, 2018 06:22PM) (new)

MJD | 210 comments Lia wrote: "Thanks for the invite. I have nothing to say about buddhism, which might not be so awful afterall.

Weirdly, my interest is in ... nothing. I think that means I should shut up, but that’s not very ..."


Welcome to the group.

Judging from your comment I think that you may enjoy The Four Seals of Dharma by Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro Rinpoche.


message 10: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments John wrote: "I'm a philosophical newbie. It's only been this past year that I've intently searched out and completed reading full texts that interested me. I've also been listening to a podcast, "Philosophize T..."

Welcome to the group. Feel free to read at your own pace. If you end up liking that book by Thich Nhat Hanh I think that you would enjoy the group book The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation.


message 11: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments RM(Alwaysdaddygirl/Salemwitch) wrote: "Aloha,

Mahalo for the invite! I am a lapsing Catholic which is a Catholic who rarley goes to grief. I still believe in Catholic Church. However, I feel there is more out there. I am going through ..."


Judging by your comment I think that you may enjoy the group book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris, which is a book written by a guy that incorporated meditation and Buddhist-like thinking on things to deal with depression.

If you are on a tight budget I would advocate getting the free book Hoist on My Own Petard: Or: How Writing 10% Happier Threw My Own Advice Right Back in My Face, which has parts from the book for free, so you can see if you like the writing style and content enough to make the purchase of the non-free book.


message 12: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments For those in the group that are practicing Christians I think that you may like the book Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh (he is the author of the group book The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation ). Its been a several years since I read it and I don't remember too much of its content, but I remember enjoying it.


message 13: by John (new)

John MJD wrote: "For those in the group that are practicing Christians I think that you may like the book Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh (he is the author of the group bo..."

Actually, Living Buddha, Living Christ was one of the first books I found in my search for more material and will be purchasing it soon.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Hello all. I know some of you from other groups. My name is Kelly and while I have a son who is a Philosophy major I really don't enjoy it. LOL. However, I am intrigued by Buddhism and so the group appeals to me. I look forward to all you will teach me.


message 15: by MJD (last edited Oct 09, 2018 08:57PM) (new)

MJD | 210 comments Kelly wrote: "Hello all. I know some of you from other groups. My name is Kelly and while I have a son who is a Philosophy major I really don't enjoy it. LOL. However, I am intrigued by Buddhism and so the group..."

Welcome to the group. While there are some books in the group book list that may not appeal to you (like the academic "Routledge" books I have listed like Metaphor and Literalism in Buddhism: The Doctrinal History of Nirvana ) there are books that are more literary (like The Gospel of Buddha and The Light of Asia ).

Feel free to browse the list and see what books you would like to read. Hopefully there are a few that are a good fit for you.


message 16: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie Hi all! I'm Piyangie and am a Buddhist of Theravada sect. I'm really glad to join a non-religious group interested in Buddhist teaching. Thank you for the invitation MJD.


message 17: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Piyangie wrote: "Hi all! I'm Piyangie and am a Buddhist of Theravada sect. I'm really glad to join a non-religious group interested in Buddhist teaching. Thank you for the invitation MJD."

Thank you for joining. My interest in Theravada has been growing since I read Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah and some of the pali canon such as Wisdom of the Buddha: The Unabridged Dhammapada


message 18: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Piyangie wrote: "Hi all! I'm Piyangie and am a Buddhist of Theravada sect. I'm really glad to join a non-religious group interested in Buddhist teaching. Thank you for the invitation MJD."

For a purely non-religious book that incorporates Buddhist concepts, I highly recommend the group book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris


message 19: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Loretta wrote: "I am a devout Roman Catholic. "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord".

With that being stated, I'm not very familiar with ..."


Welcome to the group.


message 20: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Loretta wrote: "I am a devout Roman Catholic. "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord".

With that being stated, I'm not very familiar with ..."


I just want to say that while there certainly are some Buddhist perspectives that have literal beliefs in supernatural ideas (i.e. reincarnation, karma, gods, etc.) that seem to be in direct opposition to your faith (and the faiths and non-faith of others), my intention with this group is to focus on a secular perspective (i.e. focusing on the non-supernatural elements and viewing the supernatural ones as allegory) that is hopefully useful for a wide rang of people with a wide rang of worldviews.


RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) (alwaydaddygirl) Aloha and Welcome All 🤙🇺🇸


message 22: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Piyangie wrote: "Hi all! I'm Piyangie and am a Buddhist of Theravada sect. I'm really glad to join a non-religious group interested in Buddhist teaching. Thank you for the invitation MJD."

Since you are a Buddhist of the Theravada sect I want to see what you think of the following description of Theravada from an organization linked with the author of the group book Mindfulness in Plain English : https://bhavanasociety.org/about-ther...


message 23: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie Hi MJD! Thanks for sharing the link. I read the article and yes it has summed up well the belief and practice of Buddhist of Theravada sect. We are guided by "Tripitaka".


message 24: by MJD (new)

MJD | 210 comments Piyangie wrote: "Hi MJD! Thanks for sharing the link. I read the article and yes it has summed up well the belief and practice of Buddhist of Theravada sect. We are guided by "Tripitaka"."

Thanks for letting me know.


message 25: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (yaxchi) | 1 comments After twenty-five years of consideration, I am finally about to publish journals I wrote about my misadventures as an ordained monastic in the Vietnamese Zen tradition both at a monastery in California and in Plum Village, France. Once I got to Plum Village, located in the spiritual hub of Southern France, a had many amazing conversations with people, especially women, about the Cathars, early Christians who believed that men and women were equal, and that the idea of priesthood contradicted the teachings of Christ. Of course, they were hunted down, burned to death, and tortured by the Catholic Church. They were part of a movement that extended over a few centuries, including the establishment of a lay order by Saint Francis of Assisi, and the lay order of Beguine sisters (to which it is thought that Joan of Arc was a member) that were also hunted down by the Catholic inquisition. Why would these things concern me as a Buddhist nun? Because I witnessed first hand the damage done by the hierarchical structure, and got into a heap of trouble by promoting a group "Buddhism in the West" at Plum Village that greatly angered Thich Nhat Hanh. My books is entitled "Every Buddha, Same Price," and will be published on Amazon January 15. I am looking for reviewers, so contact me if interested.


Amanda (PandaCat) (pandacat) | 8 comments My name is Amanda. I have been studying Buddhism off and on for the past few years. I definitely don't abide by the more supernatural claims, but I enjoy much of the philosophy. I've been having a hard time with grieving multiple deaths this last year and have been managing an autoimmune disease. Applying some of the Buddhist philosophy to my life has helped in managing major stressors and has helped me process emotions.


Amanda (PandaCat) (pandacat) | 8 comments I’d like to add I have gotten to hear Noah Rasheta speak in person and have gone to one of his retreats. Those two events planted a seed for me to study Buddhism.


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