Archive for May 5th, 2014

May 5, 2014

Secular Buddhism

insight

Summer Buddha by Gonkar Gyatso

Secular Buddhism is a broad term for an emerging form of Buddhism that is based on humanist, naturalist, and/or agnostic values and pragmatism rather than religious – or more specifically supernatural – beliefs. Secular Buddhists interpret the teachings of the Buddha and the Buddhist texts in a rationalist and often evidentialist manner, considering the historical and cultural contexts of the times in which they were written and the period in which the Buddha lived.

Secular Buddhists eschew mythological and superstitious elements of traditional Buddhism such as supernatural beings (devas, bodhisattvas, nāgas, pretas, Buddhas), merit (an accumulation of good deeds which carries over to subsequent incarnations), supernatural karma (actions, both good and bad, come back to us in the future), rebirth, Buddhist cosmology (including the existence of pure lands and hells). Some of traditional Buddhism’s secular ethics have also been called into questions such as conservative stances on abortion and homosexuality

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