What do Buddhism believe about reincarnation?
A few months back I addressed the question we were receiving frequently What is Secular Buddhist Practice? Now, we are seeing stereotypes of secular Buddhists cropping up, and some assumptions about the beliefs or lack thereof regarding secular Buddhists. I’d like to address both questions in one article, because they tend to roll into one another in conversations.
What is a Secular Buddhist?
To define a secular Buddhist is not easy, and anything we come up with that may fit one person is not going to apply to many others. One thing we can say with accuracy is that secular Buddhists are a diverse bunch. People are coming to secular Buddhism from many walks of life from Christianity and Judaism, from Atheism and Humanism, to many of the various established Buddhist traditions.
Secular Buddhism is new on the block compared to our sister traditions, and secular Buddhists’ approaches to practice is almost as varied as the people themselves. Yet, I would like to take Gotama’s approach to self and say what secular Buddhists are not:
- In spite of what’s being bandied about the ‘net, secular Buddhists are not Stephen Batchelor clones. Not all secular Buddhists know about Stephen Batchelor, and while many do, not all are in 100% agreement with him on every aspect of Buddhism. And while many of us like him immensely, he is not our god, he is not our Buddha, and we do not aspire to be Stephen’s twin.
- We do not all approach practice the same way, nor do we all view the suttas in the same light, and many of us don’t even agree on Gotama himself (more on this in beliefs below).
- Secular Buddhists do not feel the need to erase the colorful rich, history of Buddhism, nor do we want to destroy traditions, their practices, their rituals, or their beliefs. Most secular Buddhists do not consider traditional Buddhism as “wrong” and secular Buddhism as “right”.
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