Richard Dawkins is doing religion a favour, argues Shambhala Buddhist Ed Halliwell — by exposing faith and spirituality to criticism, he paves the way for their renewal



I doubt it was his intention, but in 100 years time Richard Dawkins could be hailed as a prime architect of 21st-century religion.

Though strident to the point of comic fundamentalism, the New Atheist diatribe has not only laid bare the irrationalities of believers, but forced those of us who favour scientific-spiritual accommodation to sharpen our arguments.

And that can only aid the development of spiritual forms fit for the modern world.


Drawing on a variety of sources, including Buddhist teachings, life-coach David Hare offers his personal Top Ten definitions. (Plus a bonus.)




Happiness is:

1. the purpose of your life (too many people think their main purpose is just to survive).

2. the soundtrack of your mind and the tune in your heart, WHATEVER is happening in your life. Stop and listen, there is always a soundtrack - is it excitement, hope, love? Or anxiety, regret, resentment, frustration?

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'Pure Evil' is a great headline that sells newspapers but it doesn't help us, as a society, to move forwards, argues David Hare


It reinforces a misguided and dualistic view of the world, generated mainly by the red-tops, that simplistically divides people into 'villains and victims' or 'goodies and baddies'. Reality is not so black and white.

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We can all think of things we might enjoy in this lifetime but can also feel we don’t really deserve them, or suspect they're beyond us. Result? Feelings of frustration and inadequacy. Phil Becque explains why he practises Nichiren Buddhism

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'No matter what justifications may be offered, there is absolutely no such thing as a just and correct war', states Daisaku Ikeda



Some people who have seen war in the movies or on TV may have been impressed by it; finding it somehow attractive and feeling that the actors looked glamorous and brave.

The reality of war, however, is completely different. It is cruel and filthy and filled with sadness and misery. Anyone who has actually experienced war knows it must never be repeated.




‘ I can’t believe’, writes Diane Southam, ‘that after practising SGI Buddhism for twenty-five years I still forget to chant for the most obvious things - like teeth!’

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Every year, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda publishes a proposal which explores the interrelation between core Buddhist concepts and the diverse challenges global society faces in the effort to realise peace and human security.  Unsurprisingly, his just-published proposal for 2009 begins with a discussion of the world financial crisis.




"The impact of the financial crisis that started with defaults in the subprime mortgage market in the United States, leading to the bankruptcy of the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, has now spread to encompass the whole world.

The present crisis inevitably provokes associations with the nightmare of the 1930s, when a severe economic depression created the conditions for the global conflagration of World War II. The situation remains fluid and unpredictable, and there are growing signs that the financial crisis is undermining the real economy, bringing about a global recession and driving up unemployment.


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