Ep 34 Secular Buddhism with Ted Meissner

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Quick links:
  • 01:02  Thank you!
  • 07:36  Interview with Ted Meissner
  • 71:58  Nicki Andro “Cylinder Spin”
  • 75:30 Nicki Andro “Distant Hearts (Raise Community Awareness)”

My guest today is Ted Meissner, the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of their official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. His background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted works at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society doing community development and teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

In addition to all that formal stuff, Ted is also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Whether or not mindfulness, is your cup of tea or not, Ted’s approach to life is definitely working for him.  When I asked Ted if I could sit down with him, it was with the goal of learning more about Secular Buddhism, because it seemed like a contradictory term.  Just like when someone identifies as “Christian” there is no way to know whether they take communion with wine or grape juice (and don’t for a minute think that’s not an important question to a lot of Christians) It is important to remember not all Buddhists have the same philosophy, there are many differing ideas and schools of thought. Some Buddhists believe in reincarnation and some don’t. There are around 350 million Buddhists worldwide, and just 6 months ago I was completely ignorant of different and nuanced those different belief systems were.

As Ted is a secular Buddhist, this interview will focus on what he believes, and I hope that you find it as interesting and thought provoking as I did.

Ted Meissner Links:

The Secular Buddhist Associations main page: http://secularbuddhism.org/

The Present Moment, Mindfulness, Practice, and Science: http://presentmomentmindfulness.com/category/podcasts/

Ted mentions http://whatstheharm.net/ as a website you can peruse to see how people have been harmed by pseudoscience they thought was harmless.

Ted discusses the book Mindfulness for Depression and Anxiety by Mark Williams.  You can find the book online just about anywhere books are sold, here is the link for Google Books https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mark_Williams_Mindfulness?id=fReoFW9tLxAC


Another podcast referenced by Ted: http://www.angryasianbuddhist.com/

Ted tells a humorous story about Uri Geller and James Randi.  Here are a couple clips from YouTube:

The first one is a bit longer in the setup, but is well worth the watch.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9w7jHYriFo

The second is a TED talk given by James Randi on why skepticism is so important….and you should be asking tough questions of those who claim to have supernatural powers.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Z7KeNCi7g

Nicki Andro Links:

Here is an interview with TransMusePlanet: http://transmuseplanet.blogspot.com/search?q=nicki+andro

Here is Nicki’s SoundCloud Page: https://soundcloud.com/nicki-andro

You can also connect with Nicki on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nickiandromusik?_rdr=p

Here is her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8XPXuE4ABMAQe_pObsuFsQ

And links to both of the songs played in the episode:


FYI, they guy on the front of the image is Current Event, who is on the song with Nicki



Opening and bumper music provided courtesy of Obsidian Shell you can find their music at http://obsidianshell.com/ or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/obsidianshell

Thanks again for listening and downloading.

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    “What’s wrong?”
    “I have lost my electron!”
    “Are you sure?”
    “I’m positive!”


  • Q: Why do the Daleks eat apples?
    A: Because an apple a day keeps the doctor away.


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