Charles Taylor’s discussion of secularity has provided secular Buddhists with important conceptual tools to avoid the false dichotomy between the ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ aspects of life. James M. Shields reviews a 2020 book by Andre van der Braak which explores the connection between Charles Taylor’s notion of secularity and Zen Buddhism.
Paul Andrew Powell’s new book, Zen and Artificial Intelligence and Other Philosophical Musings by a Student of Zen Buddhism, is an anthology of six, first-person, scholarly essays based on personal insights from his study and practice of Zen Buddhism. In these essays he explores how the living Buddha Dharma is an unrecognized subtext running throughout the entire story of the secular West.
Seth Zuihō Segall considers his ‘naturalized’ and ‘eudaimonic’ approach to Buddhism ‘close cousins’ to secular Buddhism. Yet, he believes that the word ‘secular’ implies a set of connotations he does not wish to affirm.
After many years of Soto Zen practice, John Danvers created a home for secular Buddhists by establishing the Exeter Meditation Circle in England in October 2016. The meetings of the group are simple and non-ritualistic, non-dogmatic and free of attachment to any particular teacher or tradition. Together, the group members are developing a secular Buddhist way of life that is of our time and place.
In this article the key issue is whether ‘awakening’ in Buddhism has anything supernatural or distinctly ‘religious’ about it, or whether it is a natural capacity that can be understood in the light of evolutionary biology and cognitive science.