Episode 10 :: David Meade :: Skeptical Monastics Unite

| April 30, 2010 | 0 Comments

Can One Become a Skeptical Monastic?

In today’s world, as it was 2,500 years ago in the time of Buddha, there is an interdependence between monastics and the lay community. In Theravadin Buddhism, this has remained unchanged. The specific rules for monastic behavior are the same, and even perplexing restrictions that seem to have little relevance in today’s society are still adhered to. Even the most devout lay person may, on occasion, raise an eyebrow at some of the more obscure practices of their monastic counterparts, whatever the religion. One can imagine, then, at how challenged the modern secular person is by religious life. Or, as we say in buddhisty circles, “the homeless life.”

Facing that challenge head on is skeptical Buddhist, David Mead. David is well known to online secular and skeptical buddhist communities on FaceBook, and is a frequent commentor on Bhante Sujato’s blog. Raised in Utah to agnostic parents, David got his B.A. in History from Westminster College in 2003, and an M.A. (ABT) in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University in 2008. He has, despite an abiding skepticism of mystical claims in all religious practices, decided to ordain as a monk in the Thai Forest tradition later this year. David and I had a chance to talk about his journey, how he chose this path, and just how becoming a skeptical monastic works…


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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 tracks used in this episode are:

  • Hon Shirabe

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Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

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.

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