We often get asked by traditional Buddhist, and people of all kinds, what is secular Buddhist practice? This is a great question, and I’ll do my best to answer, but I hope other secular Buddhist practitioners will also comment on this article to share any practices not mentioned here. Also, I want to remind everyone that we have a discussion forum that is dedicated to secular Buddhist practice, where people can ask questions and share their practice.
What is secular Buddhist practice? For the most part, secular Buddhist practice is identical to traditional Buddhist practice. In every Buddhist tradition to my knowledge, the following are vital practices:
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If you are curious to read where the Buddha’s teachings came from and want a small sampling of discourses, or suttas, that reveal the basic teachings, the book Early Buddhist Discourses edited and translated by John J. Holder may be just the book for you. This book is similar in organization and breadth as Glenn [...]
Time on the cushion, being mindful of mind, is interesting and revealing. You’ll find yourself playing hide and seek with thoughts. You’ll notice thought patterns, habits of the mind, and you may even get to experience quiet times when few thoughts arise. Mindfulness of mind is often a practice of letting go, letting go of each thought as it arises, as it sweeps you away, and as it returns. Eventually, you become mindful of thoughts at work in your daily life.
Last year, I had discovered some beliefs I had that were counter-productive to my current aims. Through mindfulness of mind, I realized that I was carrying around beliefs I had developed as a child about math, which was conflicting with my current interest in physics. I decided I would intentionally over-ride those old beliefs with new formed experiences, and from those I could develop new attitudes around mathematics. I wrote about this topic in Beliefs and Mindfulness of Math, if you are interested.
David Loy David Loy joins us to talk about why Buddhism needs the West, studies in lack, and the selective evolutionary pressures on traditional practices. What happens when Buddhism, or any other traditional practice, encounters a new culture? It changes, grows, and finds new forms that suit the new environment in which it finds itself. [...]