secular: from the Latin, ‘saeculum‘ – of this age, time, world
– that is, a Buddhism of this time and place, making sense and working within our culture, meeting our everyday needs and aspirations, open to the same kinds of reasonable questioning and rational enquiry we would apply to any other activity – ‘secular’ or ‘agnostic’ Buddhist practice is not in any way opposed to formal religious institutions and traditions, but a complement to them.
The term, ‘secular Buddhism’ is not intended to refer to a particular category of Buddhism, let alone a new school or sect. In our understanding, the term refers to an informal process – an exploratory movement of individuals and groups who are developing forms of Buddhist practice that meet the needs and demands of people living in twenty-first century cultures across the globe. Our Buddhist practices are grounded in this life – our daily life with all its ups and downs, shocks and surprises, messiness and mystery. Mindful awareness of our daily experience is the primary method for understanding and coming to terms with life’s ever-changing pleasures and pains.
Participants in the Exeter Meditation Circle come from many different backgrounds, contributing to the Circle in ways that reflect their life-experiences and their experience of different approaches to Buddhism, other religions, philosophies, sciences and arts. We place particular value on personal responsibility and self-reliance, within the context of a deepening understanding of how we are all interconnected and interdependent. In a small way, we are working to create a culture of awakening in which all beings, and the environment in which we live, are valued and cared for.
Here are some links that may be of interest:
A Theravada Library – a collection of English translations of Buddhist texts: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/
Insight Meditation Society – a long-established organisation with lots of resources: http://www.dharma.org/
A Secular Buddhist, by Stephen Batchelor (an influential essay): http://gaiahouse.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Stephen-Batchelor-A-Secular-Buddhist.pdf
Secular Buddhist Association (US-based) – with lots of useful resources: http://secularbuddhism.org/
The Four Foundations of secular Buddhism, an article by Mark Nickelbine: http://secularbuddhism.org/2011/07/12/the-four-foundations-of-secular-buddhism/
Another perspective on secular Buddhism: https://middlewayphilosophy.wordpress.com/secular-buddhism/
The Existential Buddhist, a website & blog by psychologist and Zen practitioner, Seth Zuihō Segall: http://www.existentialbuddhist.com/
Bodhi College – a teaching initiative based around the study of early Buddhist texts – with useful resources: https://bodhi-college.org/
Antaiji – a Zen temple with useful advice about zazen (Zen meditation) and writings by Sawaki & Uchiyama: http://antaiji.org/en/
Sanshin Zen Community – lots of resources on zazen (under the heading ‘teachings’): http://www.sanshinji.org/
Dharma Net – a very large collection of resources on many aspects of Buddhism: http://www.dharmanet.org/