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“The cultivation of loving-kindness and compassion is not intrinsically a religious endeavor. It has really a much more general pertinence and general applicability. You don’t have to be religious or buy into a religious doctrine to do it. This is why I think it is important to develop techniques that are secular and not simply religious in orientation.”
— The Dalai Lama

Secular Buddhism is a non-religious form of Buddhism unique to the West. Tradition, robes and ritual are absent as are non-English terms. It is devoid of authority through title or lineage. It is atheistic i.e. there is no consideration of the supernatural or reincarnation. Karma is considered only in the sense the word as commonly used in English – of one’s intentions, actions and their results in this life.

Secular Buddhism is an informal term used to describe a style of Buddhism most similar to that practiced and advocated by modern American or European Buddhists such as Jack Kornfield, Stephen Hagen, Sharon Salzberg, Joeseph Goldstein, Joko Beck and Stephen Batchelor.

It is not however simply a new age mash-up of spirituality. It is still primarily focused on the study and practice of the Buddhism’s core teachings of The Four Noble Truths and The EightFold Path. It is, if anything, an attempt to return to the original teachings of The Buddha.

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Posted July 4, 2010 by Rick Bateman

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