Our Friend Doug Smith's Newest Video: Early Buddhism

@dougsmith has posted a very nice description of the Early Texts on his Doug’s Secular Dharma site that is quite interesting and detailed.

Doug describes the skeptical approach of the Buddha to the religious environment of his time, and also mentions that to his audience of “Secular Buddhists,” some of the Buddha’s beliefs and teachings, such as rebirth, may not resonate with his viewers . To his credit, rather than explaining away the Buddha’s teaching on rebirth as an artifact of the times ( as some scholars attempt to do), for example, he notes that the Buddha’s scientific approach, for his time, is highly compelling to secular Buddhists.

Finally, he refers his viewers to Sutta Central as a source for the Early Texts. Bravo, Douglass, and looking forward to more of these interesting videos from you.


Thanks very much for your kind note, Michael. Much appreciated.



Yes, nice job, Doug. And if you have any other videos, please feel free to post them here.


SN 54.8 also lists the benefits of anapanasati.

SN 45.2 Buddha is called ‘spiritual friend’ (kalyanamitta).

Excellent video Doug. :seedling:

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Ānāpānassati is not breathing meditation.

Ānāpānassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā mahapphalā hoti mahānisaṃsā. Ānāpānassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā cattāro satipaṭṭhāne paripūreti. Cattāro satipaṭṭhānā bhāvitā bahulīkatā satta bojjhaṅge paripūrenti. Satta bojjhaṅgā bhāvitā bahulīkatā vijjāvimuttiṃ paripūrenti.


The assāsapassāse is breathing meditation.

Tassa mayhaṃ, aggivessana, etadahosi: ‘yannūnāhaṃ appāṇakaṃyeva jhānaṃ jhāyeyyan’ti. So kho ahaṃ, aggivessana, mukhato ca nāsato ca assāsapassāse uparundhiṃ. Tassa mayhaṃ, aggivessana, mukhato ca nāsato ca assāsa¬passā¬sesu uparuddhesu kaṇṇasotehi vātānaṃ nikkhamantānaṃ adhimatto saddo hoti. Seyyathāpi nāma kammā¬ra¬gagga¬riyā dhamamānāya adhimatto saddo hoti; evameva kho me, aggivessana, mukhato ca nāsato ca assāsa¬passā¬sesu uparuddhesu kaṇṇasotehi vātānaṃ nikkhamantānaṃ adhimatto saddo hoti. Āraddhaṃ kho pana me, aggivessana, vīriyaṃ hoti asallīnaṃ upaṭṭhitā sati asammuṭṭhā. Sāraddho ca pana me kāyo hoti appa¬ṭippas¬sad¬dho teneva duk¬khap¬pa¬dhā¬nena padhā¬nābhi¬tun¬nassa sato. Evarūpāpi kho me, aggivessana, uppannā dukkhā vedanā cittaṃ na pariyādāya tiṭṭhati.


The correct way to do the Anäpänasati Bhävanä is found here.

Thank you bhante. I put out a video a week, but do not want to wear out my welcome on this forum by posting them all. They are intended for a general audience so although I push the boundaries of scholarship very slightly they should not be cutting edge.

If a video seems right I will try to remember to post, being confident that Michael may as well.

Thank you very much for your work.



Secualar Buddhism? Is this why you need “secular buddhism” ?

The primary difference is that Secular Buddhism has no dependency on assertions not in evidence, it is based solely on that which can be verified in the natural world. It does not rule out such claims, but merely recognizes that such assertions (like literal rebirth) have not been able to provide any externally verifiable or convincing evidence. And, like the claims of other religions which cannot be verified by any known means, can be set aside.

This is not an “evolution” of Buddhism. It’s a complete and utter corruption of the Dhamma.

Buddhism is not a democracy. Buddhism is lead by the Buddha. He has expounded a certain view of things called the Dhamma. One needs to follow the Dhamma in order to belong in the Buddhist institution. It’s very simple.

Buddha did say “come and investigate”.

The idea is to adopt the Dhamma if you agree fully. He did not say you may loiter and pollute it with your own views if you disagree with certain parts.

Who said you can Cherry pick and still call yourself a Buddhist? It’s similar to joining the organisation without fully adopting the constitution.

You thought you were pushing boundaries of scholarship did you?

What makes you think you are “cutting edge” ?

I am attaching the Dhamma basics from your site. This is how you describe the Four Noble Truths

  1. Life means suffering.
  2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
  3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
  4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

I just cannot see “cutting edge” there. It’s more like a kindergarten to me. It’s a complete and utter obfuscication of Buddha Dhamma.

The Buddha literally said “come & see” rather than “come & agree.” MN 38 could not be more plain here. Therefore, the secular Buddhist way I think can be included within Buddhism:

Bhikkhus, knowing and seeing in this way, would you speak thus: ‘The Teacher is respected by us. We speak as we do out of respect for the Teacher’?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Knowing and seeing in this way, would you speak thus: ‘The Recluse says this, and we speak thus at the bidding of the Recluse’?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Knowing and seeing in this way, would you acknowledge another teacher?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Knowing and seeing in this way, would you return to the observances, tumultuous debates, and auspicious signs of ordinary recluses and brahmins, taking them as the core of the holy life?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Do you speak only of what you have known, seen, and understood for yourselves?” —“Yes, venerable sir.”

“Good, bhikkhus. So you have been guided by me with this Dhamma, which is visible here and now, immediately effective, inviting inspection, onward leading, to be experienced by the wise for themselves. For it was with reference to this that it has been said: ‘Bhikkhus, this Dhamma is visible here and now, immediately effective, inviting inspection, onward leading, to be experienced by the wise for themselves.’


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Disagreeing with the contents of another’s post is fine, but please do it as kindly as possible to convey your point.
Attacking a poster and using unkind tone are against the guidelines of this forum.


You have misread the post. Doug’s statement was that his videos should not be seen as cutting-edge.


Well, hopefully the mod does not see this as “unkind tone”. What I am saying here pretty certain can be authenticated against the cannon.

So you may certainly “come and see”. Although if you disagree with the fundamentals you ought to leave. The reason being.

  • Nihilism will land you in hell. This is Buddha-dhamma.
  • The wrong view will land you in hell. This is Buddha-dhamma too.
  • Spreading the wrong view to others will most certainly land you in hell.

He has not only adopted the hell-bound path. He is spreading the hell-bound path to others too.

So realise I am helping him more than you are. I am the one who is being most kind to him. I am helping by letting him know what he can look forward unless he abides by the correct Dhamma.

Thank you

While I personally was never a Christian, I can empathize with how Secular Buddhists would avoid anything that sounds the same as fundamentalist Christianity or Islam or similar.

As for Buddha-Dhamma:

  1. ‘Nihilsm’ can be interpreted to be a ‘self-view’; a reason for it to be a wrong view. Please refer to Iti 49, DN 1, SN 12.17, SN 22.85, etc. Secular Buddhists can ideally distinguish between the ‘impermanence of selfless aggregates’ & the nihilistic self-view of "I am impermanent". The distinction here is subtle.

  2. Of AN 10.29, it has been said annihilationism is held to be a comparative advantage over other wrong views, such as Eternalism, because Nihilsm better supports dispassion.

Kind regards :deciduous_tree:

How, bhikkhus, do some overreach? Now some are troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by this very same being and they rejoice in (the idea of) non-being, asserting: ‘In as much as this self (ayaṃ attā), good sirs, when the body perishes at death, is annihilated and destroyed and does not exist after death—this is peaceful, this is excellent, this is reality!’ Thus, bhikkhus, do some overreach. Iti 49

Bhikkhus, of the speculative views held by outsiders, this is the foremost, namely: ‘I might not be and it might not be mine; I shall not be and it will not be mine.’ For it can be expected that one who holds such a view will not be unrepelled by existence and will not be repelled by the cessation of existence. There are beings who hold such a view. AN 10.29

When, Sāriputta, a bhikkhu has no I-making, mine-making & underlying tendency to conceit in regard to this conscious body; when he has no I-making, mine-making & underlying tendency to conceit in regard to all external objects; and when he enters and dwells in that liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, through which there is no more I-making, mine-making & underlying tendency to conceit for one who enters and dwells in it, he is called a bhikkhu who has cut off craving, stripped off the fetter, and, by completely breaking through conceit, has made an end of suffering. AN 3.33

Why do you want to interpret when the direct referece exists? The Nihilist view is known as natthikā diṭṭhi or natthiko in the cannon. English translations are hard to find for some reason.

I think the following captures what I said somewhat. There could be better examples elsewhere.

If a rich person, O rajah, is one without faith, mean,
Miserly, evil in thought, holding wrong views, disrespectful,
Who abuses recluses, brahmins, or others, even beggars,
Who scolds them, wrathful, a nihilist,
Who hinders another giving food to those who ask: 
When such a person dies, O rajah, lord of mankind,
He goes to a terrible hell, faring from light to darkness.


So you don’t empathize and give them the wrong information. You need to empathize and let them know the right view as expounded by the Buddha, or you will end up in Hell too.

I quoted specific & exact definitions of nihilsm from the Pali suttas in my previous post, which you seem to have totally ignored. It is these specific & exact definitions of nihilsm that are subjects of interpretation

Note: Your last post does not contain any “direct reference” about what Nihilism actually is. Only my post contained a specific & exact direct reference.

In summary, any Secular Buddhist with a mind free from “I-making”, “my-making” & the “self-conceit” will be free from hell.

Kind regards :deciduous_tree: :thaibuddha:

There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists and who on seven grounds proclaim the annihilation, destruction and extermination of an existent being. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: ‘The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction and extermination of an existent being.

DN 1

I-making only ends at Arhath stage. You cannot even begin on the path unless you have Sakkaya Ditthi.

Sakkaya Dhitthi expounds 5 aggregates and continuation of the dependently originating life-stream or continious death/re-births.

So you cannot get to B without passing A.

The “Secular Buddhist” means gobble-de-gook anyways. Buddhism is already secular.

[quote=“Rajitha, post:17, topic:5201”]You cannot even begin on the path unless you have Sakkaya Ditthi. Sakkaya Dhitthi expounds 5 aggregates and continuation of the dependently originating life-stream or continious death/re-births.

No. The noble path (stream-entry) begins with the ending of sakkaya ditthi. You seem to be posting your own personal doctrines here rather than discussing what is in the suttas (EBTs), as I have posted. Good-bye, for this thread. :sparkles:

Precisely this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration: This, friend Visakha, is the way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification (sakkaya ditthi) described by the Blessed One." MN 44

Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear…free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear…free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who have abandoned three fetters [including sakkaya ditthi] are all stream-enterers, no longer subject to perdition, bound for deliverance and headed for enlightenment. MN 22

So cessation of self-view (sakkaya ditthi), means gaining the opposite view.

That self is only a basket of continuously dependently originating aggregates. The bodily aggregate ceases when life ends.

It dependently re-originates yet again in a mother’s womb. The Nihilist will not go anywhere unless they adopt this view.

The system is complaining I am not engaging others in the discussion. So I have to leave too.

This seems definitely wrong view. SN 22.59 seems to say the self is not the aggregates. SN 22.81, SN 22.1 & SN 5.10 give descriptions about how the mind identifies with the aggregates. ‘Self’ seems to be identifying with the aggregates rather than the aggregates.

The above quote includes many types of evils therefore, for a moral Secular Buddhist, the ‘existential nihilistic view’ alone should not lead to a terrible hell (per Iti 49 & AN 10.29) because, for an unenlightened moral person, it makes little difference whether they hold an existential eternalistic, nihilistic or mundane right view.

Importantly, the term ‘nihilism’ can refer to a ‘moral nihilsm’, which means to not believe there are results of actions. This moral nihilism will certainly lead to hell but the existential nihilism alone may not necessarily lead to hell (per Iti 49 & AN 10.29).

In suttas, such as MN 60 and AN 3.65, the Buddha emphasised moral kamma over belief. In these suttas, the Buddha said when a person lives with moral non-harming, they make a “safe bet” because they are happy in the here-&-now &, if there is another world, the person will have a happy future.

In summary, believing in rebirth or reincarnation will not guarantee a favourable rebirth or reincarnation if the ‘believer’ performs bad kamma. If Secular Buddhists follow the five precepts & practise non-harming, if there is rebirth, the Secular Buddhists will have a good rebirth.

Further, if Secular Buddhists can also abandon craving, attachment & self-view, they can also experience Nibbana.

Kind regards :deciduous_tree:

This noble disciple, Kālāmas, whose mind is in this way without enmity, without ill will, undefiled and pure, has won four assurances in this very life.

The first assurance he has won is this: ‘If there is another world, and if there is the fruit and result of good and bad deeds, it is possible that with the breakup of the body, after death, I will be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’

“The second assurance he has won is this: ‘If there is no other world, and there is no fruit and result of good and bad deeds, still right here, in this very life, I maintain myself in happiness, without enmity and ill will, free of trouble.

AN 10.29


Thankyou for the post.

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