What is Secular Buddhism?
focuses on Buddhism as an applied philosophy rather than a religion
There are many schools of Buddhism and they all explain/teach Buddhism in different ways. Some traditions emphasize reason; others devotion; others mysticism; most combine several of these things. The end goal for all of them is to help people to arrive at a state of awakening or enlightenment. When I started studying Buddhism, I had a hard time understanding many of the concepts being taught. As my understanding grew, many of the differences between these schools became much less significant. Rather than focusing on which one was “right” or “wrong”, I focused on which one spoke to me. Secular Buddhism takes a pragmatic approach to explaining and applying Buddhist teachings and is based on humanist values. I practice/teach Secular Buddhism because it makes the most sense to me. I have a deep love for Buddhist wisdom and I respect all Buddhist traditions.
The Path of Liberation…
from self-inflicted suffering
Secular Buddhism is a non-dogmatic way of understanding and practicing Buddhism. Buddhism is often referred to as the path of liberation. But liberation from what? From our habitual reactivity and self-inflicted suffering. The aim of Buddhist teachings is to understand the nature of reality, the nature of suffering and to let go of the causes of suffering. The process starts by taking a look at how we see the world. When we understand the way we see things, the way we see things will change. This introspection will give us insight into the nature of our own minds. Rather than trying to change the world (our circumstances), we focus on changing ourselves and in that process the world around us changes.
“The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh. We are the prisoners of our own minds. We are bound by our concepts & ideas. Rather than presenting us with a set of beliefs that we can choose to believe in or not, Buddhist teachings are something we do. These teachings help us to learn to look inward, to discover that nothing is permanent and that everything is constantly changing and that all things are interdependent. With this wisdom, comes the understanding that the things we seek outside ourselves, are actually found within.
Attend a Workshop
Discover the fundamentals of Buddhist philosophy
Workshops and retreats are held in cities all around the U.S. and around the world. Attending a workshop in person will allow you to meet other like-minded individuals who are also striving to become better versions of themselves. These communities can provide friendship and support on your path to becoming more mindful. If you can’t attend a workshop, I have published the content of the workshop online so you can view it from the comfort of your own home and on your own time. We have an online community and Secular Buddhist study group.
Listen to the Podcast
Listen to new topics every week
The Secular Buddhism podcast is a weekly podcast that focuses on Buddhist concepts, topics, and teachings presented for a secular minded audience. Episodes 1 – 5 are an introduction to Buddhism and all episodes after that are geared around specific topics. I recommend listening to the first 5 episodes in order and then picking and choosing the desired topic after that.
Read the Book
Eastern thought for western minds
When I first started studying Buddhism, I found it difficult at times to comprehend the concepts that were being taught. I goal was to take the deep philosophical concepts taught in Buddhism and make them accessible and easy to understand for secular-minded, “westerners” like me. The book is available in paperback, Kindle, iBook (iTunes), and Audio (Audible.com).