is a philosophy discussion group. We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month
from 7.30 to 9.30pm
in the The Bull
in Tanners Street. We cover a large range of topics
. There's no charge for membership and everyone is welcome to drop in. Just bring your brain and some beer money!
Buddhism Comes West
This month we will be looking a Buddhism, but not just as another religion with its own specific set of beliefs. We will be considering the question of how Buddhism has moved into western society and culture and how it has adapted and changed during that process of moving.
Instead of having just one speaker introducing the topic this month, we have a panel of five at-one-time-or-another practitioners of Buddhism. Two of our panel members each have over 20 years experience in their respective sects (Triratna and Sokka Gakkai). Two members describe themselves as 'beginners', having experience of Chan practice and Triratna practice. The final panel member has practiced both Zen and Nicheren Buddhism whilst living in Japan. So we will have plenty to talk about.
Take a dip into some of the audio and video programmes and articles listed below to get a flavour of the topic.
- The Buddha (Video (90 mins)
- Full length documentary on the life of the Buddha, narrated by Richard Gere (well – nothing's perfect!). Excellent production and graphics. This is a MUST!
- Buddhism comes West (Audio: 28 mins)
- BBC Radio program: Beyond Belief, 28 minutes
- The life on the Buddha (Audio: 40 mins>
- BBC Radio programme: In Our Time, 40 minutes
Introduction to Soka Gakkai (Video: 3.5 mins)
- Soka Gakkai is a modern, lay, form of Nichiren Buddhism
Author Robert Anton Wilson talks about Pure Land Buddhism (Video: 3.5 mins)
- Pure Land Buddhism is a popular form of Japanse Buddhism, which, like Sokka Gakkai (Nicheren Buddhism) practices chanting rather than meditation. It emphasises faith and grace rather than self-reliance, which is unusual in Buddhism, and has many parallels, in this respect, with Christianity.
Buddhism in the West (Wikipedia article)
Buddhism in Britain (blog site)
Buddhism in the United States (Wikipedia article)
Can you have a Buddhism shorn of its religious appendages? Is there a core to Buddhist beliefs and practices that do not require belief in anything supernatural? There is a growing constituency of people who practice a form of Buddhism that they regard as essentially non-religious. Stephen Batchelor is one of the formost proponents of this 'naturalistic', 'non-religious' form of Buddhism.
The Secular Buddhist Association
The Secular Buddhist Blog
Secular Buddhism Podcasts
Buddhism and Humanism (Video: 29 mins)
- Can you be a practicing Buddhist and an atheist Humanist? Does it have something to offer someone who has no supernatural belief?
Stephen Batchelor talks about his book 'Confession of a Buddhist Atheist' (Video: 90 mins)
Review of 'Confession of a Buddhist Atheist' (Article)
The new Buddhist atheism (Article)
- Mark Vernon reviews Stephen Batchelor's 'Confession of a Buddhist Atheist'
and is surprised to see that the foreward was written by Christopher Hitchens of all
Secular Buddhism – Have you given up on Religion? (Video: 7 mins)
- Stephen Batchelor talks about the religious elements in Buddhism
Criticism of Westernised Buddhism
Buddhism is the new opium of the people
- "Western Buddhism has a long path to travel before becoming something that resists,
rather than supplements, consumerism." By Mark Vernon
Buddhism as the opium of the people
- From Mark Vernon's blog
Buddhism: opium for the masses?
- From the Buddhist Blog
Buddhism is the New Opium of the People
- From blog @davidbattrick.net
Western Buddhism and Other Capitalist Avatars
Stephen Batchelor — Sex Scandals in Buddhism
- Stephen Batchelor, who was a Tibetan monk for some time, discusses how the total submission
required in the guru relationship can lead to sexual abuses