I've noticed that we have a tag on the site for New Age Buddhism which has a couple of questions associated with it (one more now I've asked this!). What is New Age Buddhism though. Can anyone give a reasonable concise definition of it, maybe point to some links for more detail and give a few teachers that follow or expound this line of Buddhism. Does it have anything that uniquely differentiates it from other forms of Buddhism. Or it is a not genuine concept at all?
I know more about Buddhism than new age, but I'll take a stab and listing the contrasts:
New age is radically eclectic and blends all sorts of religions and para-religious concepts. New age has a very porous boundary. Buddhism is syncretic-- it picks up new ideas as it moves into a new cultural area, but then becomes institutionalized again an one generally can recognize what its boundaries are.
New age practices that clearly overlap with Buddhism would include meditation, belief in reincarnation, sympathy towards monism and nondualism, something akin to the 2 truths principle you see in Buddhism (that there is ordinary reality and then another layer on that).
New age Buddhism would be distinguished by all the other concepts drawn into it. For example, the Buddhist temple not far from where I live is a sort of New Age Buddhist temple, with an impressive crystal display. The temple is run by a woman who was mostly New age before she was recognized as a tulku.
Personally I think it is a useful concept/tag, it help keep straight when people are looking for answers that might involve who knows what, from UFOs to Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce or Helena Blavatsky and Auras and so on.
I think we should differentiate Buddhism from New Age movements, they may share some goals (happiness), some tools (meditation) and some teachings, however they are very different in some key aspects, usually the ones related to money, intoxocants, sexuality and "enjoying life" (generally speaking)
There are new age gurus and teachers trying to reconcile the Buddha's teachings with our modern society and other believes, some of them attract a lot of people, I do respect them, but I don't see it as "New Age Buddhism", I see it as "New Age movements with some Buddhists teachings inside".
Good question! An interpretation, based on the Terma tradition. New Age Buddhists accept Animated Emptiness (Primordial Buddha) as the enlightened, unborn, unconditioned ruler presently on earth and possibly elsewhere, who knows? Humans have yet to discover sentient life elsewhere but that doesnt mean it doesnt exist in this universe or other dimensions. Sublime imagination first took the elemental form of a primordial Buddha on earth( circa a quarter to a half a million years ago ) with essential feminine aspects including several Bodhisattvas which are recognised as equal to Animated Emptiness.