Why

“If Buddhism is to survive, it needs to find a firm communal footing within the framework of secular culture.”
— Stephen Batchelor

Every culture Buddhism has migrated to has made it their own. They have added their own artistic style, their own practices and their own literature. Historically, Buddhism only came to the West recently and it is still very much in the early stages of being acculturated here.

Even so, though it has made efforts to adapt, the teachings of the Buddha are still largely obscured by a presentation that is culturally foreign in appearance, language and format. Also, as the West moves away from theistic religions and their belief in an afterlife, the Buddhist emphasis on reincarnation is one of its greatest impediments to acceptance.

Currently no form of Buddhism practiced in the West is openly atheistic and openly teaches a form of Buddhism that does not include the concepts of reincarnation and karma as traditionally taught. Thus all forms of Buddhism in the West require those who might be curious to embrace what in their view is a religion. The purpose of Secular Buddhism is to offer the general public a form of Buddhism devoid of religious, traditional or cultural trappings.

Sources

My own ten years of study and practice provide the primary source for the creation of this site and the establishment of the first public Secular Buddhist group. The issues I hope to address have arisen primarily from that, a not uncommon set of issues with many Westerners attempting to come to terms with Buddhism.

A list of suggested reading can be found here (bottom of page).

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Posted July 18, 2010 by Rick Bateman