Secular Buddhism is not a ‘school’ of Buddhism

It has no orthodoxy, no separate canon and no institutional presence.

A secular dharma stands for a developmental direction that is typically Buddhist in its open-minded scepticism and its desire to let the dharma speak most effectively, that is in culturally available terms.

Focusing largely on early Buddhism, with a focus on the teachings of conditionality (known also as dependent origination), and the four great tasks that Gotama – the man we know as the Buddha – set out, the practice of meditation and a secular dharma offers a framework for a more mindful, ethical and compassionate life.

Awakening in the context in which we find ourselves – 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand – this framework is in essence a pragmatic programme for human flourishing which allows us to ignore metaphysical beliefs and religious truth-claims.

[Secular Buddhism is] trying to switch the focus from traditional religious concerns, away from post-mortem existence or non-existence, and attending exclusively to the suffering that we experience in this world, on this planet that is circling this sun where human beings and other forms of life have evolved over millions of years and, as far as we know, it’s the only place in the universe like this.
— Stephen Batchelor

As a community, a group of friends, we are working to develop forms of practice, community and thought that harmonise with our own culture and its more progressive values – kicking off with egalitarianism, inclusiveness and democratic self-rule; Wellington’s secular Buddhist community in fact.

 

The Buddha’s Four Great Tasks: Embrace + Let Go + Stop + Act

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about a secular approach to Buddhism, take a look at the Secular Buddhism in Aotearoa New Zealand website.