Wednesday, 22 August 2007

About this blog

The purpose of this blog is that it will be a group-blog on the topic of progressive, modern Buddhism with the following aims :
  • looking at Buddhism in the light of modern knowledge, free from over-attachment to ancient dogmas,
  • looking at the best ways to integrate Buddhism into Modern/Western societies
  • discussing and encouraging an empirical or scientific approach
  • Seeing insight and awakening as a living tradition

We could review articles, research, books and publish our own thoughts (and non-thoughts). If we get a bit of momentum I'd like to perhaps invite guest contributions from authors, academics or Buddhist teachers.

The style I would hope for would be middle-brow - with informal blog entries and perhaps more academically rigorous for anyone who has time to write a proper article.

I don't think it's at essential that all contributors have the same attitudes, but it helps if they at least harmonious. Here's an outline of mine:

  • Gautama Buddha is a greatly respected teacher of dharma teachers
  • He was an awakened human, not omniscient, nor an absolute authority
  • He also represents an ideal or principle of awakening
  • Although faith in the sense of confidence is important in the practice, blind faith is not
  • The principles of empiricism apply to Buddhist practice as they do to all pragmatic ways of knowing
  • This means humility to reality, established through experience and evidence, rather than domination of personal belief
  • Whatever our opinion of the received teachings, we should strive to represent them truthfully, and not misrepresent them
  • We should conduct ourselves in a way which is respectful to each other and to the Buddha-dharma
  • There is only one Buddha-dharma, and a number of expressions or understandings of it. We should be able to express our understanding freely, but in a way that is respectful of different sectarian understandings and customs.

Anyone who is interested in being a regular, occasional or guest contributor leave a comment below. I would want regular contributors to regard themselves as equal partners and decision-making would be done on group consensus.

Blog Style and location:
We may opt to make changes to both the style of the blog (I might have a go at this later) and to the web address if we want something more unique and repectable looking than a blogger address. (To be discussed)