Starting & sustaining a secular Buddhist sangha

The Vietnamese Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh once said that ‘the next Buddha will be a sangha’. Secular Buddhists believe that creating and sustaining democratic sanghas is crucial not just for individual transformation but to promoting an egalitarian culture of awakening in which all beings can flourish. If you have any questions or would like assistance and advice on setting up and running a successful secular dharma community, send us a message through the form on the Contact page.

On this page, you will find recommended reading to introduce and explore the subject, and more articles written by a number of writers that will help you to dig deeper.


My journey to secular Buddhism and the creation of the Exeter Meditation Circle

After many years of Soto Zen practice, John Danvers created a home for secular Buddhists by establishing the Exeter Meditation Circle in England in October 2016. The meetings of the group are simple and non-ritualistic, non-dogmatic and free of attachment to any particular teacher or tradition. Together, the group members are developing a secular Buddhist way of life that is of our time and place.

By John Danvers

Bringing secular dharma practitioners together – the perils and joys of setting up and running a sitting group

Ramsey Margolis sets out his experience creating and sustaining a secular dharma community in Aotearoa New Zealand, and offers some practical tips on how to make one work.

By Ramsey Margolis

Exploring the meaning of community

The community of practitioners – the sangha – is a crucial aspect of the dharmic path for secular Buddhists. But what do we mean by community? How is a community different than other forms of collective organizations? How do we create a true community of practitioners that help each other develop their practice and contribute to a ‘culture of awakening’?

By SBN Editor

Moving away from hierarchy and toward democratic sanghas

Developing a secular dharma which is relevant to our contemporary world requires us to engage in a serious examination of traditional models and practices of the community of practitioners – the sangha – and to be willing to experiment with new, more democratic forms.

By SBN Editor

Four bonds of fellowship that help build community

Martine Batchelor discusses the four bonds of fellowship that help build community at a Gaia House talk. What are these four bonds? Generosity, kind words, beneficial help and consistency.

By Martine Batchelor


Reflective meditation retreats as a space for independent and critical thinking 

By Linda Modaro

Australia’s newest secular buddhist community 

By SBN Editor

Dharma and community for meditators 

By Winton Higgins

Sangha essentials – creating community & bonding 

By Winton Higgins

Wellington’s Simply Meditation renamed: One Mindful Breath 

By Ramsey Margolis

Creating a secular Buddhist association in the USA 

By Mark Knickelbine

Creating community – or meditation as a contact sport 

By SBN Editor

Creating a Buddhist community – connections that work 

By Stephen Batchelor