Chichester Humanists is a local branch of West Sussex Humanists and represents the interests of the non-religious residents in and around Chichester.

Each month we discuss issues concerning religion and belief, ethics, equality, human rights and science, including current events.

We liase with Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council on matters concerning equality of religion and belief, and monitor Council activities, including proposals for new "faith" schools.

We are keen to campaign on behalf of non-religious residents who feel disadvantaged because of their beliefs, e.g. access to a community school, discrimination at work or through the delivery of local services.

We organise events and displays, invite prominent speakers, and give talks to local organisations, including schools and colleges.

We meet once a month in Muchos Nachos140 Whyke Rd, Chichester PO19 8HT (tel: 01243 785 009)

Meetings are from 7.30pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Instead of membership subscriptions, there is a £3 entrance charge for meetings with speakers (usual concessions).

If you would like to meet some local freethinkers and have a chat, please come along and join us at the next meeting. Look out for the poster above.

For more details, email Julian.

Being freethinkers there are many things secular humanists will not agree on, but there are some matters on which we do take a firm and unanimous stand. We do not condone prejudice of any sort. Nor do we hate religious people. Such views are entirely contrary to any humanist philosophy and we reserve the right to exclude any person promoting them.

Former Buddhist nun talks to Chichester Humanists 17th June 2013


Our Buddhist speaker, Modgala Duguid, was not raised in a religious family. She abandoned an early foray into Christianity, studied psychology in her early 20s and raised a family.

After some painful experiences, she decided to help people. She explored Pagamism and other worldviews before discovering Buddhism, which transformed her life in a very positive way. Modgala trained to be a Buddhist nun, was ordained by the Amida Order in London 15 years ago and spent time aborad in Zambia, India and Bosnia. She has written a book about her experiences in Zambia entitled You might as well die here as anywhere.

Modgala gave a broad outline of Buddhism, which came from Hinduism and is based on the 4 noble truths: the nature of suffering, craving, the aim to end suffering and the way to achieve this throught eh eightfold path. She explained these using common words such as greed, hate, delusion, addiction etc. Later we discussed the frustration of consumerism.

There is confusion surrounding Buddhism because there are several types. Theravada Buddhism is monastic and involves offerings and meditation (sitting). Mahayan Buddhism, which Modgala practises, also involves meditation but is based on putting Buddhist principles into action.

Modgala currently belongs to the activist group Socially Engaged Buddhists and actively supports worldwide causes such as climate change. She has an online profile here.

There were many questions from the audience. Here are a few with replies from Modgala and other Busshists present.

Why do some Buddhists engage in violence and harmful acts? Like other religions, Buddhism is used for political and selfish purposes.

Do you believe in karma, God, rebirth. Modgala does not believe in God or life after death. Another Buddhist considered karma to simply mean the consequences of our actions.

Why do Buddhists pray if there is no God? Modgala gave an example of praying (to herself) "I pray that I don't have to steal."

Is there any Buddhist dogma? Not according to Modgala. Buddhism is a set of practices that a person can try in order to improve their life. The sayings of the Buddha are designed to provoke thought.

Is a Buddhist life a natural life? Modgala's version of Buddhism is called Purelander. They accept that all people are naturally both good and bad. Buddhism is an attempt to avoid suffering.

Do Buddhists's believe there is a self? They consider our idea of self to be an illusion, continually changing from birth.

Is Buddhism a religion? Modgala felt uncomfortable with this term until she realised that the "lig" of religion means "that which binds us together".

What is the Buddhist view on sex? Any sexual practice that is not harmful is acceptable. It's all about taking responsibility for one's actions. Opposition to homosexuality, abortion, etc. in countries where Buddhism is practised is cultural rather than religious.

What do Buddhists consider to be right? There is no absolute right, only right intention.

The overall impression was that Purelander Buddhism is more of a philosphy than a religion, and that it's followers make a positive contribution to society as well as coming to terms with the suffering of life.


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Remembrance Sunday Campaign

The Chichester Observer made a video and wrote an article covering the laying of a Humanist wreath after the main religious ceremony. A transcript of the speech can be downloaded here.

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