Bodhi College’s Secular Dharma course takes a secular rather than a religious approach to the teachings of the Buddha. The course emphasizes the humanity of Gotama and the practical applications of his teaching in this world, and encourage each student to find his or her own way of practice within the secular/religious spectrum of their own lives.
Stefano Bettera offers his reflections on the two year course on the Secular Dharma at Bodhi College and what the next steps are for the course participants. He asserts that it is the ‘creative, adaptable, non-dogmatic and unorthodox characteristic of the secular Dharma that is an opportunity’ for contributing to a culture in which awareness and compassion are predominant.
The mission of the Secular Dharma Foundation is to foster the advancement of emotional and psychological well-being through the education and integration of mindfulness, psychology, and various therapeutic modalities.
In leading meditation retreats based on a reflective meditation approach Linda Modaro and Moline Whitson aim to create a middle path between a strict adherence to an intensive schedule and completely doing away with the structures and guidelines that have been considered worthwhile on vipassana retreats.
Helping you to put the notion of a secular dharma into practice, here are some talks given at a retreat led by Martine and Stephen Batchelor at Gaia House, Devon between 18 and 24 July 2015.
This online course explores the key ideas and practices of secular Buddhism, based on Stephen Batchelor’s recent book, After Buddhism: rethinking the dharma for a secular age, and the companion book published by The Tuwhiri Project, After Buddhism: a workbook, by Winton Higgins.
This eight-part course uses recorded talks by Stephen Batchelor and Roshi Joan Halifax in which they rebuild the standard ‘Four Noble Truths’ of Buddhism from the ground up, rendering them as noble tasks.
You may have tried to study Pali on your own at home, using one of the grammars available on the internet. It’s not easy, right? Well, there are currently two online course offers that will give you a better shot at it.
Here’s a suggestion – dedicate a couple of weekends to a study retreat in the comfort of your own home, practicing meditation and going in depth into a secular approach to Buddhism.
Carol Smith’s account of her stay at a Goenka vipassana retreat: “Yep folks, I lasted 6 days out of the 10 day retreat. The longest 6 days of my life. I had looked forward to this retreat with a mixture of excitement and trepidation since I booked it, 3 months ago. I knew it would be hard work, but that was ok if I were to get some of the results I’d read people get, from a 10 day Vipassana retreat.”