Richard Payne, ed., "Secularizing Buddhism: New Perspectives on a Dynamic Tradition" (Shambhala, 2021)


A timely essay collection on the development and influence of secular expressions of Buddhism in the West and beyond.

How do secular values impact Buddhism in the modern world? What versions of Buddhism are being transmitted to the West? Is it possible to know whether an interpretation of the Buddha’s words is correct?

In this new essay collection, opposing ideas that often define Buddhist communities—secular versus religious, modern versus traditional, Western versus Eastern—are unpacked and critically examined. These reflections by contemporary scholars and practitioners reveal the dynamic process of reinterpreting and reimagining Buddhism in secular contexts, from the mindfulness movement to Buddhist shrine displays in museums, to whether rebirth is an essential belief.

Richard Payne's edited collection Secularizing Buddhism: New Perspectives on a Dynamic Tradition (Shambhala, 2021) explores a wide range of modern understandings of Buddhism—whether it is considered a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle choice—and questions if secular Buddhism is purely a Western invention, offering a timely contribution to an ever-evolving discussion.

Contributors include Bhikkhu Bodhi, Kate Crosby, Gil Fronsdal, Kathleen Gregory, Funie Hsu, Roger R. Jackson, Charles B. Jones, David L. McMahan, Richard K. Payne, Ron Purser, Sarah Shaw, Philippe Turenne, and Pamela D. Winfield.

Tori Montrose is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at Reed College specializing in Buddhism and Japanese religions.

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Victoria Montrose

Dr. Victoria Montrose is an Assistant Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Furman University.

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