Doug Smith

Doug Smith

Doug is Study Director of the Secular Buddhist Association. He has a PhD in Philosophy, with a minor in Buddhist philosophy and Sanskrit. In 2013 he completed the year-long Integrated Study and Practice Program with the BCBS and NYIMC. A long time scientific skeptic, he pursues a naturalized approach to practice. He is also interested in scholarship about the Tipiṭaka, and the theoretical and historical origins of the dhamma. Some of his writing can be found at academia.edu.

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Doug Smith's Latest Posts

Buddhist Activism and Quietism

| February 6, 2017 | 9 Comments
Buddhist Activism and Quietism

Many of us are looking for the right way to engage with contemporary political concerns. What does Buddhism have to teach us? A couple of recent articles have taken this question in opposite directions. In “Let’s Stand Up Together”, Bhikkhu Bodhi argues that Buddhism has a number of important ethical lessons to teach that rise above simple notions […]

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The Buddha Before Buddhism: Review of Fronsdal

| January 9, 2017 | 11 Comments
The Buddha Before Buddhism: Review of Fronsdal

In his new book The Buddha Before Buddhism, Gil Fronsdal undertakes a translation of the Aṭṭhakavagga or Book of Eights, one of the Buddha’s most profound and enigmatic teachings, also widely considered one of his earliest. As is to be expected from his previous translation of the Dhammapada (2005), Fronsdal’s book is lucid and readable, one that should […]

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Insight Buddhism is Secular Buddhism: Reviewing Heartwood

| December 5, 2016 | 17 Comments
Insight Buddhism is Secular Buddhism: Reviewing Heartwood

  Wendy Cadge’s 2005 book Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America is a fascinating look at the way this form of Buddhism is adapting to contemporary American life. Although the book stems from her PhD dissertation it is readable, filled with descriptions of practitioners and their approaches. Cadge spent several years doing […]

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The Parade of Horribles

| November 9, 2016 | 19 Comments
The Parade of Horribles

Hope is both blessing and curse. It is a blessing when it gives us the confidence to act, to see beyond temporary obstacles and problems towards the greater good that stands in the uncertain distance. Hope gladdens the heart, turns our minds towards optimism and brings energy when we are low and tired. Hope can […]

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Can Dependent Origination Be Saved?

| October 31, 2016 | 14 Comments
Can Dependent Origination Be Saved?

Dependent origination is a conundrum, particularly in its most common and elaborate twelve link formula. On the one hand, it is both historically and philosophically central to the Buddha’s dhamma, on the other hand it is a deeply problematic attempt to reconcile kammic rebirth with a potential awakening into non-self. The subject is so complex […]

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Idle Chatter About Kings: Political Speech

| September 27, 2016 | 9 Comments
Idle Chatter About Kings: Political Speech

With the first debate last night, we’re in the thick of political season in the US, a once every four year cycle of presidential agita that dominates the news for months. It’s natural to bemoan the foolishness of it all, to wax satirical or cynical on the state of the nation, but the inconvenient truth […]

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Secular Buddhism’s Roots in South Asia

| September 13, 2016 | 2 Comments
Secular Buddhism’s Roots in South Asia

A recent article notes a raft of modern innovations taking place at Longquan Monastery in China, including a robot that answers visitors’ questions. These modernizations make the teaching more accessible to laypeople, and are part of a growing movement that “preaches connectivity instead of seclusion and … practical advice over deep philosophy.” Similar modernizations take […]

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