Secular Liturgies Network and Forum

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An Interview with Noah Rasheta

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As someone with a life-long interest in Buddhist philosophy from a secular perspective, a leading figure of the Secular Buddhism movement was high on my list of prospective interviewees. I am delighted, therefore, to have had the opportunity to interview Noah Rasheta, a Buddhist teacher, lay minister, host of the podcast Secular Buddhism and author of a book with the same title.

Noah studies, embodies, and teaches the fundamentals of Buddhist philosophy, integrating Buddhist teachings with modern science, humanism, and humour. Please enjoy this audio and transcript and add your questions and comments below. The transcript includes extra material from our email exchanges so do have a read as well as listening.

I would like to mention here that Buddhism has a great deal to offer in terms of secular liturgy in the more literal sense, with its many stories, sayings and analogies. Many Buddhist teachings are presented in poetic, repetitive, reflective, and therefore liturgical, including those regularly used in their original or modified form by Secular Buddhists. I don’t think Noah thought of these as liturgy at the time of interview, which explains his answer to my question about liturgy but they certainly count as far as I am concerned. I’m sorry Noah if that wasn’t clear!

I am very grateful to Noah for taking time out of a very busy schedule to do this interview, and I hope my readers enjoy and engage with the content.

Best wishes to all, Anastasia

Noah Rasheta

Noah Rasheta

Recording of Noah answering the questions

Transcript

Anastasia: What makes Secular Buddhism different from religious forms of Buddhism?

Noah: Well, good question. From my perspective, I don’t necessarily see Secular Buddhism as an off-shoot or an entirely different form of Buddhism, compared to religious forms of Buddhism. I see Secular Buddhism more as an approach that people can take to studying Buddhism, whether that is any form of religious Buddhism. The secular approach is essentially the secular minded person who’s digging in and saying well I want to find what is at the core of these practices or rituals or beliefs, and I think Buddhism offers a lot of rich and valuable concepts and teaching and ideas. The secular approach is just to explore that, without the need of entertaining any form of supernatural explanations, whether that be demons, or ghosts, or realms or things of that nature.

Now Buddhism, in and of itself, is quite secular in nature as far as the doctrines that are taught in Buddhism are concerned. However, Buddhism usually adapts, and it takes the flavour of whatever culture it gets spread to. You have schools of Buddhism from certain parts of the world that might seem very different from other forms of Buddhism, like Zen Buddhism as compared to Tibetan Buddhism, as an example, and in the West you have a secular population exploring Buddhism, and Buddhism has taken on a secular approach in that environment. In the same way, it takes on a less secular approach in a less secular environment. So, in that sense, Secular Buddhism is just another flavour of Buddhism, teaching a lot of the same stuff.

I only express caution there because I don’t think that we do it justice when we try to separate Secular Buddhism as its own form of Buddhism and say that it’s probably more accurate than this other form of religious Buddhism because I think that is missing the point. I think that for a secular Buddhist who thinks their interpretation of Buddhism is more accurate than a religious form of Buddhism, they are making the same mistake as a religious form of Buddhism might make by saying that a secular form of Buddhism is not accurate. It’s not about one being better, more correct or more accurate than the other. It’s about the fact that as Buddhism spreads there will continue to be forms of it that adapt and evolve just because that’s the nature of how ideas work.

All ideas whether they be political, or languages themselves, do this. Languages spread from one place to another and the flavour of it changes, with certain slang, the accent etc., and if someone were to ask what the difference is between British English and American English, it’s not about playing out the differences it’s about recognising why there are two different forms because that’s the nature of how languages evolve over time, and I think Buddhism is the same. It’s the nature of how ideas morph and evolve over time and take on the flavour of a specific time and place, and Secular Buddhism is one of those flavours just like every other form of Buddhism.

Anastasia: What are the key sources of Buddhist philosophy and practice which have inspired Secular Buddhism (and you personally)?

Noah: Well, I’d say the key sources of Buddhist philosophy and practice which inspired Secular Buddhism are any of the key sources that have inspired Buddhism in general, which is any of the schools of Buddhism, whether we’re talking about Theravada Buddhism and the collection of works that they use and read from or the Mahayana schools of Buddhism and the Sutras that they use. All of them are sources of inspiration, or, just current Buddhism leaders, thought leaders like Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama.

Then, there’s a movement with scholar and former Buddhist monk, Stephen Bachelor, whose name is very much associated with Secular Buddhism, whose goal is to go back and re-read and re-translate a lot of these ancient writings and say, oh here’s a more accurate way of translating it, or a more accurate way of explaining this specific teaching or concept, and a lot of his work has inspired Secular Buddhism. He’s been at the forefront of this Secular Buddhism movement.

And for me personally, it’s been a combination of all of that. I find a lot of value in a lot of the religious schools of Buddhism, and their texts and their writings and their leaders, their current works and past works, so I think it comes from everywhere.

Anastasia: What are the key networks (and communities if relevant) that make up the Secular Buddhist movement?

Noah: I don’t know that there really are many yet. I’m trying to build one around my podcasts. The podcast has grown and it’s a pretty relevant community in the Secular Buddhist movement but there were podcasts that were out before mine like The Secular Buddhist podcast. Mine is called called Secular Buddhism. Stephen Batchelor does workshops and has a large following of the books that he writes, and his books serve as a way of introducing people to Secular Buddhism. I’d say those were some of the main ones right now. I’m not aware of any specific key networks or even communities and I think there’s a demand for it, and I think a lot of Secular Buddhist practitioners just find their sense of community among other already established forms of Buddhism, or mindfulness groups and meditation groups, and that’s how it is for now as there’s not a specific Secular Buddhism community.

(There is a Facebook group called Secular Buddhism which is a form of online social media community.)

Anastasia: What was your own journey to Secular Buddhism, and then to lay ministry and teaching through your podcasts and book?

Noah: That’s a good question. So, my journey into Secular Buddhism started as I exited another form of organised religion, a form of Christianity, and my beliefs were evolving and changing, and I was seeking some other way of understanding the universe, or life. When you have a belief system that has all the answers for you, and when that foundation you stand on starts to crumble, it’s really scary because that’s the way you understand yourself and the relationship you have with the universe, and that left a big void as I was trying to sort out how I make sense of all of this. I attended a couple of religious seminars that were presenting the meaning of life through the five major world religions of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism and something stood out to me when the presenter was talking about Buddhism.

Up until this point it had been, who am I, why am I here, what happens when we die, and this is what Christianity says, and here are their answers, and this is what Islam says, and here are their answers, and when I got to Buddhism something that stood out to me was that the presenter said Buddhism doesn’t necessarily have answers to these questions. They’re going to flip it around on you and say that more important than knowing who am I or what happens when I die is the question, why do you want to know? And that really fascinated me. I realised it was very much a path that wasn’t about the answers but about exploring the questions themselves and that attracted me to Buddhism as a way of thinking.

The more I read – I started devouring books and listening to great courses and just everything I could about understanding this way of thinking – and by that time, I had a lot of friends and other people who were disaffected with religion, wanting to know what some of the other alternatives out there were to help you to understand life, and I started sharing what I was learning from Buddhism and found that a lot of people were really interested in hearing about it, so that’s what sparked the podcast. The podcast just grew and grew and grew and that led to the book.

Simultaneously, I wanted to formalise my practice and that led me to a lay ministry programme as a way of cementing and formalising the goal that I had to teach Buddhism and to I guess put a little bit more authority behind the things that I was sharing. So that’s what led me down that path, and the more I’ve studied it the more it made sense to me. Ironically, the more I study the more comfortable I get with just not knowing the answers to all of those big existential questions that led me down this path. I haven’t answered a single one but the desire to answer them has virtually disappeared. I’ve become so enthralled with the question of where did that yearning to know come from in the first place, why did I feel the need to know these things? All I gained in all of this, is a greater understanding of myself and my need to feel security in an insecure world – to feel some sense of permanence in an impermanent world – and that’s why I feel it’s a very good path for me, for my personality and the way my brain works.

Anastasia: A criticism often levelled at Secular Buddhism is that it is merely an individualistic applied philosophy and therefore lacks cultural richness, rituals and community (including the monastic tradition). Is this something you are addressing as a lay minister/Secular Buddhist leader, and if so, how?

Noah: I think this is a valid criticism. Secular Buddhism is very new. It is very much an individual journey. Most people who encounter or come across Secular Buddhism, they’re attracted to it because it is individualistic, because there’s no community, because there are none of the cultural attachments. So that cultural richness that you find in other traditions, we just don’t have it because it’s just a very new very sterile environment where people are often practising on their own.

I think the beauty of some of that cultural richness, well, it can be found in those other traditions and I think that’s why for me it’s been nice to blend my Secular Buddhist practice with some of the other traditions. The lay ministry programme I did was through a form of Buddhism that’s rooted in some of the Japanese schools of Buddhism and which has a lot of the cultural richness and rituals, which I don’t personally practice – I mean I did in my induction ceremony and some of the things I do from time to time with them but that’s just not me.

I’m not looking for any cultural richness. I’m not looking for any rituals. I’m not even looking much for the community aspect of it. However, I recognise the importance of community and that’s why building a sense of community around the podcast has been important because people want to stick with other people who are like-minded and talk about these things and so I’m finding that whether it’s through Facebook groups or the newest thing I’m building up with my Patreon podcast community, people enjoy having the companionship and the ears of other likeminded people to talk about these things. But almost all of us in the communities that are emerging are not interested in the cultural richness, we’re not interested in having any rituals and it’s becoming our cultural richness that we don’t have cultural richness, and our ritual that we don’t have any rituals. So, you give that enough time and it becomes its own set of problems but for now that seems to be working. A sense of community is out there but it’s not at all like these other communities that you find in other traditions.

Anastasia: What might Secular Buddhism bring to secular ‘liturgical’ scripts and events (e.g. annual, seasonal, lifecycle events) and so forth?

Noah: I don’t know. I haven’t given that any thought. I’m not entirely sure what if anything we could bring to that. Again, these are area that are pretty well established by some of the other schools of Buddhism and that’s part of their culture. With the Secular Buddhist approach it doesn’t seem like there’s a demand for annual, seasonal or lifecycle events. As that need grows, if it does, I’m sure things will pop up but for now I really don’t see that.

(Anastasia: I would like to add here that Buddhism has a great deal to offer in terms of liturgy, with its many stories, sayings and analogies. Many Buddhist teachings are presented in poetic, repetitive, reflective, and therefore liturgical ways, including those used in their original or modified forms by Secular Buddhists. I don’t think Noah thought of these as liturgy at the time of interview but they certainly count as far as I am concerned. I’m sorry Noah if that wasn’t clear!)

Anastasia: We often hear about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, which have been backed up by peer reviewed research and recommended by institutes such as NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). Are there other Secular Buddhist beliefs (or philosophical approaches) and practices which can help us to live mentally and/or physically healthier lives?

Noah: Well, Secular Buddhist beliefs is a kind of misnomer because what we’re trying to do through Buddhist practice in general is to analyse our beliefs, and if anything, to deconstruct them from the perspective of, there is reality as it is, and then there are the stories we construct around this reality, and those could constitute as beliefs. So, rather than having a new set of beliefs, Secular Buddhist beliefs, what we are trying to do is say, what if we are unattached to all of our beliefs? Sure the belief can be there, but if I feel the need that is has to be there, that is a form of attachment.

So what we’re trying to do in this approach is to understand ourselves, understand our beliefs, where these arise from, why do we have them, what kind of comfort does it provide, and could it be that it is actually providing more discomfort than comfort, and in that way, have better, healthier physical and mental lives. It piggy backs off everything that we’re finding in psychology, so whatever these other institutes are finding in terms of mindfulness and the benefits of mindfulness we go off a bat and say yes, that makes sense to us. I wouldn’t say that there’s anything additional outside of whatever Buddhism is already teaching; the concept of no self, the concepts of interdependence and impermanence. Those are the big key ideas in Buddhist philosophy that are being pushed through the Secular Buddhist lens as well.

Anastasia: Can Secular Buddhism help us to live more sustainably and meet our global environmental challenges?

Noah: I think it can but not more than any other thing helps us. Secular Buddhism and Buddhism in general are trying to help us to understand the nature of interdependence, the fact that everything we do affects everything else, and in that sense, I think what we’re producing is people who are more self-aware and who feel a greater sense of responsibility for how we live in the environment that we live in. So, in that’s sense yes, but I don’t know that Secular Buddhism is doing something beyond that. It’s trying to make individual people be more sustainable and, in that sense, if enough individual people are living more sustainably then yes, as a society we’ll be living more sustainably as well.

Anastasia: How do you view the dogmatic and superstitious religious traditions? Are they more harmful overall than they are helpful, or do they still have a place?

Noah: I think they still have a place. Everything has its place. I think we can become dogmatic and superstitious against dogmatism and superstition and then we’re in the same boat. I think any time a dogma becomes harmful it’s because its excluding every other way of thinking and that can be harmful in the sense that it’s blinding us to other potential ways of seeing things.

The analogy that’s often used in Buddhism is the five blind men describing the elephant. So, there’s nothing inherently harmful about one of the men describing the front of the elephant but how much more limited is the view, if that man describing the front of the elephant isn’t willing to listen to the person describing the tail of the elephant. So, I wouldn’t say that dogmatic and superstitious religions are necessarily harmful. Sure they can be to some degree if the specific belief and view that is held is harmful to other people who don’t hold that view, and the extreme obvious example here is of the suicide bomber who feels justified in taking the life of a nonbeliever because they believe the world is better of without the heathen in it. That’s a very harmful view but that’s and extreme view, and there are lower degrees to that and you could argue that can be found such as the views some religions have about homosexuality or other things like which that can be harmful but to just blanket say that dogmatic and superstitious religions are harmful, I don’t agree with that. I think it can be just as harmful for a non-dogmatic, non-superstitious religion to emerge and to become the very thing that it is fighting against, with its dogmatic non-dogmatism and its fight against any form of superstitions.

So that’s just something that we need to be careful of, and I think from the Secular Buddhism approach, the idea is always to expand the view, it’s never to restrict it and say that it is the right way, but to say, this is our way, and are there other ways, and trying to understand every single possible description of this elephant that’s here before us, which is life. Any possible explanation that may give me more insight is going to be welcome and if it’s harmful then I’m going to stay away from it, and if I see that it’s harmful for others then I may voice my concerns about that harm, but that’s how I view that, to that extent.

Anastasia: How do you balance the equanimity, which comes from a Buddhist approach to reality, with the need for activism and a prophetic voice which ‘speaks truth to power’ by calling out social injustices etc? Or, put in another way, how should Secular Buddhism respond to harmful human behaviours and harmful religious and political ideologies?

Noah: This is a very important thing right, in our day and age, because we have this culture of wanting to call out anyone who doesn’t hold our specific worldview or our specific political view and I don’t think that that’s right. There was a recent video which was circulating with president Obama talking about the harm that we’re doing with this call-out culture (see link below), and I think, regarding how Secular Buddhism should respond, I think it would be in a similar way, highlighting that first and foremost, life is complex, everything is interdependent, and what you would call, this good, and this evil thing, they’re interdependent because without good there is no evil and without evil there is no good.

That’s not to say then that we leave things the way that they are but what I’m trying to get at is that the world is a messy place. It’s very complex in nature – there are good people who do harmful things and bad people who love their families and who are doing good things in their community – there are drug dealers who pay for orphans to go to school while at the same time killing their enemies and causing all kinds of havoc. It’s just incredibly complex, so I think it’s dangerous when we try to put ourselves in the position of saying, I have it right and you have it wrong, and that we need to do things the way that I’m doing them.

So, we need to be careful about doing that in our voice of activism, and rather than specifically putting down the thing that we disagree with, put on a pedestal the thing that you do stand for, the thing that makes sense to you, and live by example. I think that’s a very important thing to do. I cannot recall a single instance where someone was shamed into changing their world view or changing their political view because they were shamed into it. It just doesn’t work that way.

I think the more we can just talk to each other, using rational discussion and communication tools, the more we can understand ourselves. So, I think from the Secular Buddhism approach, what we’re trying to do when we stand for something is just to highlight more understanding. I want you to understand how I view things not to agree with me. You don’t have to agree with me but I would want you to understand why I view it this way. And if you were to do the same thing back with an opposing view and help me to understand your view, then now we’re actually on to something because our goal is to increase our understanding of each other’s views, not to establish which view is correct, or which view is right.

Obama on Call-Out Culture

Anastasia: I totally agree with you about focussing on the positives about one’s own values and work rather than focussing on opposing or calling out others. I have been trying to do that with the Secular Liturgies Network from the start, though I have found that most people who contact me are far more interested in controversy and the ins and outs of what I do or don’t believe regarding religion, rather than the work I am trying to do in secular ethics, reflective practices and pastoral care!

I suppose what I was really searching for with my questions about activism was for an answer to the criticism that in my experience has been most often levelled at Buddhism – that is so much about personal growth and so pacifist and tolerant of other viewpoints that it cannot help in situations where there is a determined aggressor, whether than be a group with a harmful religious or political ideology. Activism can and should of course emphasise its own positive agenda rather than slagging off its opponents but it also needs to take a stand at times, which cannot help but be opposed to the views of other groups, even while it may listen to and respect the opposing views of individuals. There are individual, private interactions and then there is the public, political sphere.

This is of course very relevant today in many places. I suppose I was seeking a bit more of a response to that. The example most often brought up in discussion is Nazi Germany of course – what should a Buddhist have done in the face of the rise of National Socialism? This may seem like an extreme example, and as you say, there are many degrees to this sort of thing but in reality, in human history, violent and harmful ideologies and actions do happen all the time, and sometimes force of some kind is required to stop them. I suppose I was looking to explore all that a bit more.

One Buddhist teacher once told me years ago that under those circumstances a Buddhist should just submit, and in essence, die as a martyr for his/her cause but this doesn’t sit quite right with me. Another Buddhist teacher used an example of a violent mentally ill person in a village, saying a good Buddhist community would be able to restrain such a person in chains and yet also keep him happy and fully included at the same time – again that seems extremely implausible to me. I suppose I struggle with the way that some Buddhist teaching suggests we can always avoid conflict with others, when even for the most mild and gentle of people this is not possible all the time. We can avoid actually saying someone is wrong and we are right but isn’t saying politely that we don’t agree with them, and following a different path, pretty much the same thing as saying that we think they’re wrong and we’re right?

Noah: Thank you for clarifying the question a bit. I believe that one of the core practices of Buddhism is to act skillfully. I think the 4th noble truth is entirely about that and activism would certainly fall within that. I like to use the analogy of a bear coming into a campsite and terrorizing the campers. As a camper, I must do what is skillful to protect my family and my tent etc. It may be skillful to call the park ranger and have them shoot a tranquilizer to move the bear or if I sense more imminent danger, I may need to even shoot the bear. But it all depends on so many circumstances that will determine the most skillful course of action. This is how I view life from the Buddhist lens. Would I sit by while the Nazi’s invade my country? I personally would not.

I would fight when it makes sense to fight or run underground operations if that made sense or even subversion and sabotage if that made sense. I don’t know exactly WHAT I would do because it would depend entirely on all the circumstances that I might find myself in and I would hope that my Buddhist practice would allow me to me more aware and skillful in my specific course of action. I hope that clarifies my stance on that a bit more?

Anastasia: Thanks Noah, that’s helpful. It shows there is a wide range of perspectives among Buddhists as with most other groups. Some may be pacifists of a rather extreme sort but groups will vary. I grew up with a lot of Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist influence, which was essentially secular in its philosophy so I’ve long been a secular Buddhist of sorts. I’ve always found it very helpful but have not yet found a local community that takes that secular approach or a realistic/skilful enough approach to the very real challenges of life. The Secular Buddhism network is a very useful addition to the Buddhist schools and movements.

I still go to meditations at our local centre nonetheless, as I find them helpful, even though I ignore the supernatural and extreme pacifist elements of their teaching. There is still beauty in the imagery and stories, even if I don’t believe the magical beings are real, and of course, the core teachings are all the same.

Anastasia: How does the Buddhist understanding of suffering and attachment help us to empathise with and have compassion for other humans and nonhuman animals?

Noah: Well, I think that the biggest way that it helps is that it reminds us that we are all in this together. We’re all going through the same experience of being alive and experiencing suffering and of the difficulties that arise because we are alive. I’ve found that in my own personal journey the more I’ve understood this reality the easier it is to empathise and have compassion for others, regardless of how they view the world because however they paint their picture of, oh I’m so happy because I believe this or I’m so happy because I’ve go all these followers on Instagram or whatever, the picture is you can start to see through that and be like, no, I know that you, deep down inside, you experience difficulties in the same way that I do when things don’t when things don’t go the way that we want them to go and when things aren’t the way that we want them to be. We experience suffering and that’s universal.

By recognising that we’re all experiencing that from time to time to different degrees, I think that empathy arises naturally. It’s not, I’m supposed to be nice, why, because I was told that I’m supposed to be nice. It becomes natural to be nice because you realise, you’re are no different from me, and I have fears, and I have insecurities, and I have all these things that I try to hide about me, well, I don’t have to hide them anymore and now can see that you have yours too. I may not know what yours are but I know that you have them and that allows me to approach people differently, and I think that’s one of the big benefits of this very key teaching of Buddhism of Dukkha, the concept of suffering.

So, I think that’s how he Buddhist understanding of suffering helps us to empathise with others and more importantly here, it allows that empathy to arise naturally, not forced, because you’re not compelled and in the Buddhist tradition there are not commandments, right. You are told, hey be kind to your neighbour. There’s no reason to, you don’t have to be, so if I don’t have to be kind so I’m left with the option of then why does that still feel like the right thing to do and I can look into that and realise, oh because we’re all here and we’re all suffering and we’re all trying to make it better and to me that seems like a much more authentic way of feeling empathy than just saying, well, I’m going to be nice to you because that’s what I’m supposed to be doing, so I pretend to be nice but deep down inside, I’ll judge you, and I’ll feel angry that you don’t do this and that you do do that. So, that’s how I view that concept of suffering in relationship to Buddhism.

Anastasia: Secular Buddhism seems to have a lot in common with the Secular Humanist approach (and that of the Secular Liturgies Network and Forum*). Indeed, it has the potential to enrich Secular Humanist perspectives, ethics, reflective practices and models of pastoral care. Do you currently collaborate or have links with humanist organisations or other progressive faith organisations e.g. progressive Christianity, humanistic Judaism etc.?

Noah: No, I personally don’t. I’m not aware of the other people who are talking about Secular Buddhism if they have relationships with any of these organisations or institutes or movements but I think they’re worth looking into. I don’t really read or study their perspectives. I’m not entirely sure. I would assume we have a lot in common because the secular approach seems to be very similar to other secular approaches.

I’m very fond of the work that people like Sam Harris are doing, and the work that people like Neil Degrasse Tyson are doing to promote secular ethics and yes, I can see similarities with some of those approaches. I’d love to be more involved or know what some of those things are but now I’m not really aware of any or of Secular Buddhism trying to jump into something more than just what it is right now which is an exploration of ideas.

Anastasia: What are the greatest rewards and challenges of your work?

Noah: The greatest rewards are knowing that these concepts, these ideas, these teachings, really change lives. People send me messages all the time about how, whether its dealing with disaffection of religion or dealing with some kind of relationship conflict with a spouse or a partner or between parents and children. I see it all the time that these concepts and ideas are healing. They’re healing peoples’ relationships with themselves, peoples’ relationships with their loved ones and peoples’ relationships with their overall community and the environment that they live in and that they were raised in.

And that’s the biggest challenge by far, and that’s what I’ve experienced also in my own approach to all of this is that it’s a greater sense of peace. I feel like for so long I was on this trajectory of, I have to know things, I have to find the truth, the right path, have the right answers…and that’s slowly morphed into, now the journey is the journey of having more peace and more contentment, more joy and more peace and not even searching for answers anymore. I’m not interested in the answers. I’m still interested in the questions and the source of the questions but I’m not interested in the answers, and I feel that that’s been a great reward of this specific work and this specific path.

The greatest challenges, not entirely sure, I think I’d have to think about that a little bit. I think some of them are about being misunderstood. When you live in a community that has very similar sets of views and beliefs and you don’t share those, it can be challenging because you’re perceive to be an outsider. Or, even worse, in my case, if you’re still somewhat ‘in’, it’s like well, now you’re not really one of us. You’re not really an outsider because you’re not against us but you’re not really one of us because you don’t believe what we believe, so you’re kind of stuck. You’re not with us or against us, and I guess that’s a better place to be than against us.

And then there’s some of the push back I’ll get from other Buddhists, for example, like you’re bastardising Buddhism, I’ll get messages like that from time to time and I just respond with, I’m not changing Buddhism at all, if anything, study it a little bit more closely and you’ll realise that what I’m doing is the same, this is all the same stuff. We’re just presenting it with different approaches, different lenses, and also just the time that it takes to dedicate to constantly preparing new topics for the podcast episodes, taking the time to respond to emails and to the messages I get and things of that nature but it’s not really challenging, it’s a very rewarding work for me.

(*With its Nine Themes, the Secular Liturgies Network suggests that the focus of progressive faith and applied philosophical movements going into the future should be on improving the following: health and wellbeing, compassion and empathy, sustainability, social justice and equality, community-building, critical thinking and a rational/evidenced based approach to knowledge, personal development/growth, and cultural diversity, creativity and enrichment.)

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