Episode 149 :: Mark Knickelbine :: Practice Circle

Mark Knickelbine

SBA Board Member Mark Knickelbine speaks with us about secular approaches to a contemplative practice, and the new Practice Circle.

There are many ways to approach secular practice. You might, for example, come to Buddhism from a different religious tradition, and find that the teaching is helping you, but the supernatural assertions as as problematic in your new environment as they were in the one you left. You might have come to Buddhism directly, as part of your own cultural heritage, or you may have adopted it as fulfilling a need for personal development. Or, like today’s guest, you may have started with a secular practice that lead you to learn more about its Buddhist roots.

All are perfectly valid, there are many roads to having a meaningful and beneficial secular practice. And this diversity is further supported by each other, by that community of fellow practitioners who share in our challenges, setbacks, successes, and moments of joy. We’re social creatures, us human beings, and we find social identity and support in a wide variety of ways. For secular practice, this can be difficult, as there aren’t brick and mortar secular Buddhist centers within arm’s reach.

“Buddhism Without Beliefs” and “The End of Faith” led me Mark Knickelbine to seek out a dharma practice without the religious trappings of Buddhism. He found it at a local health clinic, where he learned mindfulness in the manner of Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mark has continued to study texts from the Pali, Chan, and Zen traditions, and practices with a secular mindfulness group in Madison, Wisconsin. Mark is a writer, editor, and political activist, and has a masters in English, which qualifies him to pontificate on nearly any topic.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice kocha.


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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 “Eleven Waterfalls” from his CD, The Shakuhachi.