We come to understand the groundwork of Buddhism, along with traditional beliefs/traditions based on what the mind may declare, what tradition may teach, what the sutra may declare. Beyond the Tripitaka, is not much of what we rely on for Buddhism outside the scope of true enlightenment? In short, in today's world doesn't secular Buddhism better fit reality?

  • 2
    Please provide appropriate Title for your question.
    – Swapnil
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 9:10
  • "Which school of Buddhism (e.g. secular or traditional) is better?" is considered an unanswerable (or unaskable) question on this site. I don't even understand the question, so I cannot reword it.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 19:10
  • Thats a valid question: "In short, in today's world doesn't secular Buddhism better fit reality?", just chance the question title. The foulish opinion based killing is teally useless and just opinion. Not to speak about Dana at the right time: new arriver.
    – user11235
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 12:30
  • Should a side be limited by the not understanding of a non refugee?
    – user11235
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 12:32
  • "is considered an unanswerable (or unaskable) question on this site"... the Buddha was very clear on it. Unless not wishing to produce fakes or spread lies public, there isn't and reason for such statements.
    – user11235
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 8:32

3 Answers 3


You know, speaking personally, I've never been able to make hats work. I've tried on a lot of different hats, but no matter what, when I put on a hat I end up looking like the world's biggest doof. Some people really rock hats; hats suit them. I have to respect that, but honestly it doesn't help answer the question of whether or not we should all wear hats. It's a contentious point.

We could argue about that, I suppose, but while we do the meal is getting cold.

We all need to develop discrimination: to know what is important, and what is not, and to avoid getting tangled up in the latter. No one can discriminate for us. Spiritual traditions can help keep us on the path or hinder our development; secular independence can free us to advance or get us lost in the woods. Wear a hat, don't wear a hat; in the end it's irrelevant, because a hat has nothing to do with awakening. Either way, it's just a style we adopt for the sake of our egos while we walk the path, and sooner or later we're going to want to slough off matters of style.


I would like to have a clear definition of 'secular Buddhism' as understood by the OP. I can make little sense of the phrase.

From the Wiki definition I can see no difference between 'secular' Buddhism and Mahayana. It seems to be a phrase used by those who believe Buddhism is about religious beliefs and the supernatural. As this is a wrong view the phrase seems redundant and meaningless.

I would normally assume that someone who calls themselves a secular Buddhist has almost no understanding of it.

As for Buddhism not being fit for today's world the idea is ridiculous. It's the same world it always was. I really cannot imagine how a modern human with internet access can confuse Buddhism with religious beliefs and dogma and oppose this to secularism. It tells us something about how little effort many people put into understanding philosophy and religion before leaping to conclusions.

  • secular means related, objected fot the world (sense) till even denying that there is something beyond. May it be of use to improve the answer.
    – user11235
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 8:28
  • @SamanaJohann 'Secular' means not connected with religious or spiritual matters. So much for secular Buddhism. .
    – user14119
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 11:37
  • First adking for defenition and than being the smart one. That's secular.
    – user11235
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 2:39
  • @SamanaJohann - I wish I could comprehend your comments.
    – user14119
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 12:03
  • @PeterJ I think it was criticism, or at least reflexive -- "first you (Peter, in your answer) ask for a definition, then (later in the answer and/or comment) you act as if you're the smart one ... and there, that's 'secular' for you, that's what secular is/means/is like."
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 12:37

The discrepancy between Buddhism and modern society is not the fault of Buddhism. This problem signifies that society is drawing away from reality. Of course, since "Buddhism" is the expression of the Dharma in samsara, it is also subject to degeneration.

Pristine Dharma as the Buddha knew it will remain the absolute Truth. The ease of access to it will fluctuate and become more difficult as society falters against it. Based on my understanding, "secular Buddhism" is an example of corruption.

  • Corruption or discarding of irrelevant mythology? Let's not forget that all schools of Buddhism were influenced by the prevailing cosmologies and religions of both its homeland and the countries in which is was imported. A supreme deity is completely irrelevant in Buddhism, and the literal interpretation of Samsara is copied from Hinduism. If you classify secular Buddhism, i.e. the consequence of being imported into a secular society, as corruption, would you not also need to classify Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese schools of Buddhism, or even evolving insights in Indian tradition as corruption?
    – Codosaur
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 18:30
  • @Codosaur, any reformulation of the original message of the Buddha it's a corruption. The Dhamma is about the uproot of conceit and If someone insist in cherry-pick his teachings without give it a proper try to all of them, this means that he is not willing to let go of his own conceit and personal preconceived views. That being so, it is a corrupted dhamma because the original meaning and purpose has been lost.
    – Danilo
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 19:28
  • So, according to this reasoning, all schools of Buddhism except the Mahāsāṃghika is corrupted teaching, since any school branched from this first school "reformulated" the original message? And how could you prove beyond any doubt what the "original message" was? The canon was only written down centuries after Gautama, and the reliability of oral traditions is inaccurate at best.
    – Codosaur
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 23:21
  • @Codosaur, schools and branchs aside, the guidelines to know what is in line with the Dhamma and what is not, was given in dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN8_53.html
    – Danilo
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 13:05
  • "dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to reclusiveness, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome" - Nothing I see here would imply incompatibility with Secular Buddhism. In fact, many are echoed in the core principles of Humanism and Sceptical Reasoning, as well as in Science.
    – Codosaur
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 21:17

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