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?

  • 1
    This would have been better meta question, since the core topic is what a tag means. Sep 20, 2014 at 2:28

5 Answers 5


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.

  • Can you expand on “syncretic/institutionalized “? I can think of an example like Tibetan Buddhism....is that what u mean?
    – blue_ego
    Sep 24, 2022 at 7:09
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    Syncretism is when people take two religions and mix them, especially as one religion spreads to a new area with a pre-existing religion. What starts out as another religion (say Hinduism, Chinese folk religion, etc) becomes heterodox Buddhism and then orthodox as institutions make the new components officially part of the religion. It is slow & once complete, people assume that is the way it always was. Sep 26, 2022 at 14:45

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".

  • Well said. Like the explanation. Sep 20, 2014 at 21:54
  • And then there is Secular Buddhism. I wonder if the tag-generator was looking for a term to cover it. There isn't a tag for Secular Buddhism. May 15, 2021 at 10:51
  • @LindaBlanchard There is: secular-buddhism
    – ChrisW
    May 15, 2021 at 23:07

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.


A thirst to justify every misfortune anyone befalls.

You can work out the rest (if you suffer you are evil, etc.)


New Age Buddhism allows marriage. Millions converted to Buddhism in Nagpur India. It was a Buddhism as taught by B R Ambedkar. This Buddhism is soft on marriage. Only bans adultery. Buddha told his followers to leave family and meditate in forest. That was true Buddhism. These days it is very difficult to find a true Buddhist.

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