Episode 123 :: Ramsey Margolis :: Secular Buddhism Community Building in New Zealand

| June 23, 2012 | 4 Comments

Ramsey Margolis

Ramsey Margolis speaks with us today about building Secular Buddhism community in New Zealand.

We’ve seen a surge recently in the creation and development of secular Buddhism sites across the world, serving our diverse public of contemporary practitioners with a wonderful variety of online resources. There are many approaches to a secular practice, from having an interest in more naturalistic interpretations of early Buddhist texts, to seeing how science is contributing to our understanding of how our minds work. They’re all correct, and not mutually exclusive, which allows secular Buddhism to represent a very large and diverse bunch of people with common, and often complementary, ways of being secular.

What we’re seeing now is a transition from the historically slow spread of Buddhism through physical geographic dispersal, to more immediate availability and consumption of ideas through the virtual and geographic independent tools of social networking. Online groups are easy to set up, maintain, and join. More interestingly, though, is that we’re seeing these tools bring it back home, as they foster the development of face to face practice.

Ramsey Margolis is Executive Director of the New Zealand Cooperatives Association. He started a sitting group in 1999 which developed into Wellington Insight Meditation Community, and put out a newsletter for the group that is now INSIGHTAotearoa. A secular Buddhist practitioner since the late 1990s, he claims two passions in life (apart from his lovely wife): good food and the printed word. Ramsey’s intention is to help create a culture of generosity.

So, sit back, relax, and have New Zealand’s own Kawakawa tea.

:: Discuss this episode ::

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Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The track used in this episode is “Chaniwa” from his CD, Shakuhachi Meditations.

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Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (4)

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  1. Darlene Darlene says:

    What an awesome interview. What a hoot this guy is. Talk about calling a spade a spade and a shovel a shovel. And the mention of Vulcans made me LOL (as the young people say), although, of course, I have no idea what a Vulcan is.

  2. Kataraina Mateparae says:

    Tena korua, Ted & Ramsey. That was a wonderful interview! Ramsey you are the perfect spokesperson for Secular Buddhism in Aotearoa – kia ora koe 🙂

  3. CarolS says:

    Well done Ramsey! Its good to hear a voice from home 🙂
    Oh and Darlene – remember Mr. Spock from Star Trek? He was a Vulcan 🙂

  4. Dana Nourie Dana Nourie says:

    Great podcast! It felt good to hear about how secular New Zealand is, and how positively Ramsey dug into forming this in person secular Buddhist group.

    The topic of teachers is an important one we are continually tossing around. Until then the support of peers seems to be working really well.

    Also awesome the way New Zealand is including it’s cultural roots and native people. I’m glad also to hear Ramsey bring up generosity as well. That is a topic that doesn’t come up often in secular Buddhism, and it is something that many in the US struggle with.

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