First course up and running

by Linda Modaro • satisangha.org

Meeting online for our first After Buddhism study group on Thursday June 8th, meditators who practice recollective awareness and reflective meditation joined us from California, Washington, Maryland, and Michigan, as well as eastern and south Australia.

All of us have been practicing recollective awareness and reflective meditation, so we have had plenty of permission to broaden the definition of meditation and other Pali words from Buddhist teachings. However, in our discussion with Winton and Ramsey, the suggestion to broaden the definition of ‘secular’ now joins our contemporary Buddhist glossary.

Considering a range that included being open, creative and diverse, to modern, coming from this time, and concerning ultimate/important questions, exposed the default thinking of some in the US of secular as solely non-religious or atheistic.

Studying together, we also sat together – each in the privacy of our own homes, muting our audio and turning off video – and had some time for personal reflection before coming back online after the introduction from Winton and Ramsey. With After Buddhism: a workbook as our guide – we all had copies of the PDF versions of the first session “What is After Buddhism all about?” – we read the last few paragraphs ending with Stephen's four P’s that embody his secular Buddhism: the Principle of conditionality, the Practice of the fourfold task, the Perspective of mindful awareness, and the Power of self-reliance.  

In keeping with our practice of staying close to each person’s experience, my question for the group was, “What P would you add, or any other letter of the alphabet for that matter?” The list below cannot convey each person’s thoughts and feelings, the nuanced description that went with their addition, and the summary is my encapsulation, not theirs, but I hope you will get the idea of how independent study done together can foster an evolution of the Buddhist teachings that impact your daily life and practice.  

P – purpose, the curiosity and seeking of finding a path
P – process, of being kind to oneself and others
R – responsibility, of sharing the path with others
P – patience, letting things evolve and mature over time
P – people, concern for other people and relationships
P – paradox, of bringing mundane concerns into existential and existential concerns into the mundane

We have room in a second group that will run on the third Thursday of each month from 5–6:30pm PST.  Do please consider joining us from anywhere in the world, except Europe I am sad to say (unless you are a night owl). Please get in touch with me via the website or by email: https://satisangha.orglinda@satisangha.org.