The Coming of Secular Buddhism: a Synoptic View

Winton Higgins


Secular Buddhism is coalescing today in response to two main factors. First, it rejects the incoherence of Buddhist modernism, a protean formation that accommodates elements as far afield as ancestral Buddhism and psychotherapies claiming the Buddhist brand. Second, it absorbs the cultural influence of modern secularity in the West. Historically understood, secularity has constituted a centuries-long religious development, not a victory of "science" over "religion." Today's secularity marks a further stage in the cultural decline of "enchanted" truth-claims and the intellectual eclipse of metaphysics, especially under the aegis of phenomenology. In Buddhism as in Christianity, secularity brings forth a new humanistic approach to ethical-spiritual life and creative this-worldly practices.

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