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‘The contrast between Classical Buddhism and Secular Buddhism stems primarily from different ways of understanding the human condition,’ writes Pali translator Bhikkhu Bodhi in this article from the U.S. magazine Inquiring Mind.
A reflection on human relationality and why it is important, I’d argue essential, as a core consideration of the emergent notion of secular Buddhism. It does not enter the usual arena of this inquiry: rebirth, the validity of the discourses, and so on. Where it does answer will, I trust, speak for itself.
From time to time I’ve heard participants at retreats etc mention the reason they want to learn meditation is to reduce/manage their anxiety [a couple of my friends dabbled in meditation (they never really became meditators) because they hoped meditating would reduce their anxiety – it didn’t and they no longer meditate].
I have great pleasure in finding examples of mindfulness in places other than secular Buddhist explanations of the Buddhist tradition. As a European New Zealander who has left it far too late ever to be a serious student of Buddhism, examples that speak directly to me of what meditation is all about can easily be found in the secular and Western world.