Ten Theses of Secular Dharma by Stephen Batchelor

Every now and then I will contribute to the theses by adding a proposal, comment, question or a personal insight to the

Ten Theses of Secular Dharma by Stephen Batchelor:

 

1. A secular Buddhist is one who is committed to the practice of the dharma for the sake of this world alone.

ad 1: A secular Buddhist is one who practices the dharma for the sake of this world alone.

 

2. The practice of the dharma consists of four tasks: to embrace suffering, to let go of reactivity, to behold the ceasing of reactivity, and to cultivate an integrated way of life.

 

3. All human beings, irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, and religion, can practice these four tasks. Each person, in each moment, has the potential to be more awake, responsive, and free.

ad 3: All human beings, irrespective of gender, ancestry, race, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, and religion, can practice these four tasks. Each person, in each moment, has the potential to be more awake, responsive, and free.

 

4. The practice of the dharma is as much concerned with how one speaks, acts, and works in the public realm as with how one performs spiritual exercises in private.

ad 4: The practice of the dharma is as much concerned with how one pays attention, speaks, acts, and works in the public realm as with how one performs spiritual exercises in private.

 

5. The dharma serves the needs of people at specific times and places. Each form the dharma assumes is a transient human creation, contingent upon the historical, cultural, social, and economic conditions that generated it.

 

6. The practitioner honors the dharma teaching that have been passed down through different traditions while seeking to enact them creatively in ways appropriate to the world as it is now.

ad 6: The practitioner honors the dharma teaching that have been passed down through different traditions while seeking to enact, develop, recondition and integrate them creatively in ways appropriate to the world as it is now.

 

7. The community of practitioners is formed of autonomous persons who mutually support each other in the cultivation of their paths. In this network of like-minded individuals, members respect the equality of all members while honoring the specific knowledge and expertise each person brings.

 

8. A practitioner is committed to an ethics of care, founded on empathy, compassion, and love for all creatures who have evolved on this earth.

ad 8: A practitioner is committed to an ethics of care and forgiveness, founded on empathy, compassion, and love for oneself and all creatures who have evolved on this earth.

 

9. Practitioners seek to understand and diminish the structural violence of societies and institutions as well as the roots of violence that are present in themselves.

ad 9: Practitioners seek to understand and diminish the attentional, physcial, structural and cultural violence of societies and institutions as well as the roots of violences that are present in themselves.

 

10. A practitioner of the dharma aspires to nurture a culture of awakening that finds its inspiration in Buddhist and non-Buddhist, religious and secular sources alike.

 

Exercise – recognizing your grievance

“This exercise will help you identify a central grievance pattern that is operating in your life and in your relationships. Bringing this adversarial grievance pattern to consciousness is the first step in becoming free of it.”*

Listen here

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* Welwood, John: Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Boston & London. Trumpeter, 2007

The calligraphy of perseverance

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The artist of this calligraphy, Astrid Kaiser, wrote it in Kaisho writing style for me after me having practiced Zen for 10 years.

The seals contain the message:
– imperial examination  enlightens the day
– music and writing provide joy

The signature expesses: Love – Centre – Heart = Loving Mental Activity

The original calligraphy was written by Hakuin Ekaku, the Japanese Rinzai Zen master who lived in tbe 17/18 th century, 1686 – 1768.

Practicing dharma works

When we imagine practicing the dharma at work we have probablIMG_20160708_222512.jpgy certain notions how this can be done. Questions might come up like: Can I stay in my job or profession, will I be accepted by my colleagues if they know about it, does the path allow a mundane profession in this messy organisational world with all its quirkyness and adversities?

Where and to whom can I take refuge when the world around me seems to be a container full of distortions, lost values and tremendous fear?

Up to now I have worked all of my life first in industrial companies and later in public administrations. …

Here the link to the talk.