- Shambhala Publications08/03/2021Pages: 360Size: 6 x 9ISBN: 9781611808896Details
How do secular values impact Buddhism in the modern world? What versions of Buddhism are being transmitted to the West? Is it possible to know whether an interpretation of the Buddha’s words is correct?
In this new essay collection, opposing ideas that often define Buddhist communities—secular versus religious, modern versus traditional, Western versus Eastern—are unpacked and critically examined. These reflections by contemporary scholars and practitioners reveal the dynamic process of reinterpreting and reimagining Buddhism in secular contexts, from the mindfulness movement to Buddhist shrine displays in museums, to whether rebirth is an essential belief.
This collection explores a wide range of modern understandings of Buddhism—whether it is considered a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle choice—and questions if secular Buddhism is purely a Western invention, offering a timely contribution to an ever-evolving discussion.
Contributors include Bhikkhu Bodhi, Kate Crosby, Gil Fronsdal, Kathleen Gregory, Funie Hsu, Roger R. Jackson, Charles B. Jones, David L. McMahan, Richard K. Payne, Ron Purser, Sarah Shaw, Philippe Turenne, and Pamela D. Winfield.Author BioRICHARD K. PAYNE is the Yehan Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. Richard is active in the fields of Japanese Buddhist studies and ritual studies. He also serves as editor-in-chief of the Institute's annual journal, Pacific World, and is chair of the Editorial Committee of the Pure Land Buddhist Studies Series.Sarah Shaw is a faculty member and lecturer at the University of Oxford. She has published numerous works on the history and practices of Buddhism, including Mindfulness and The Art of Listening.KATE CROSBY is Professor of Buddhist Studies in the department of Theology and Religious Studies at King's College, London. She has previously held posts at the universities of Edinburgh, Lancaster, Cardiff, and SOAS, London. Educated at Oxford, Hamburg, and Kelaniya, in Pune and Varanasi, she works on Sanskrit, Pali, and Pali-vernacular literature and on Theravada practice in the pre-modern and modern periods. She is interested in the history of the relationship between Buddhism and other technologies and how varying responses to modernity influenced the shape, rhetoric, and practice of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Her publications include The Bodhicaryavatara; Dead of Night & The Women; and Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, Identity.
ROGER R. JACKSON, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and Religion at Carleton College. He has nearly 50 years of experience with the study and practice of Buddhism, particularly in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. His special interests include Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and ritual; Buddhist religious poetry; religion and society in Sri Lanka; the study of mysticism; and contemporary Buddhist thought. Roger is a highly respected and beloved scholar, Dharma teacher, and writer. He has authored many scholarly books and articles, and is a frequent contributor to Lion’s Roar, Buddhadharma, and Tricycle magazines.Gil Fronsdal has practiced Zen and Insight Meditation since 1975 and has a PhD in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University. Gil was trained as a Vipassana teacher by Jack Kornfield and is part of the Vipassana teachers' collective at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He was ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Center, and in 1995 received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. He has been the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Center, in Redwood City, California and the Insight Retreat Center in Santa Cruz, California. He is a husband and father of two sons. He has also translated the Atthakavagga, verses containing some of the earliest teachings of Buddhism. It is published as The Buddha Before Buddhism: Wisdom from the Early Teachings.Charles B. Jones is an associate professor of Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He earned a PhD at the University of Virginia in 1996 and specializes in Pure Land Buddhism in China.Praise
"Thoughtful and engaging at every turn, this volume is indispensable for anyone who wants to investigate—and move beyond—the dualities that shape our understandings of Buddhism. Readers may well discover themselves to be both more and less secular than they once assumed." —Chenxing Han, author of Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists
"This volume provides a much-needed critical treatment of the multiple ‘secularizing Buddhism’ processes and projects underway in global Buddhism. Exploring a range of contexts from the Pāli canon to Pure Land Buddhism, the museum to the mindfulness movement, these authors clearly illuminate the complicity between secularization and colonialism, racism, and neoliberalism. Secularizing Buddhism makes two important intellectual and ethical interventions: It identifies the ethnocentric, racialized violence that occurs when the secular is constructed as binary other and developmentally superior to the religious. It also suggests how the relationship between the two can be reconfigured in more fluid, dynamic, and context-sensitive ways." —Ann Gleig, author of American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity
"As Buddhadharma and Buddhist practice are transmitted to the West and as Buddhism engages with modernity, Buddhist ideas, practices, and commitments are adapted and transformed. This fascinating collection of essays by some of the leading scholars of contemporary Buddhism explore the complex interaction of Buddhism with the modern world. This volume will be a valuable resource for practitioners, scholars, and anybody interested in the present and future of Buddhism and in the contributions it can make to our world." —Jay Garfield, author of Engaging Buddhism: Why It Matters to Philosophy
"Utilizing but not bound by slippery dichotomies such as secular vs religious, modern vs traditional, and West vs East—taking them instead as 'semiotic pairs' or, to use a more traditional Buddhist concept, as 'non-dual'— the essays in this fine collection explore various facets of Buddhism in contemporary society. From mindfulness in the schools to Buddhist art in museums, from controversies over rebirth to 'immanent' Buddhism and more, Secularizing Buddhism provides a thoughtful mosaic of our ever-evolving situation." —Paul L. Swanson, author of Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religions
"This volume paints a nuanced picture of the dynamic changes that Buddhism is undergoing globally. . . . Ultimately, this collection gives Buddhists of all stripes more common ground for productive conversations that steer clear of dogmatism." —BuddhadharmaSelected Reader Reviews