Buddhist modernism

New movements based on reinterpreted Buddhism / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Buddhist modernism (also referred to as modern Buddhism,[1] modernist Buddhism,[2] and Neo-Buddhism[3] are new movements based on modern era reinterpretations of Buddhism.[4][5][6] David McMahan states that modernism in Buddhism is similar to those found in other religions. The sources of influences have variously been an engagement of Buddhist communities and teachers with the new cultures and methodologies such as "Western monotheism; rationalism and scientific naturalism; and Romantic expressivism".[7] The influence of monotheism has been the internalization of Buddhist gods to make it acceptable in modern Western society,[8] while scientific naturalism and romanticism has influenced the emphasis on current life, empirical defense, reason, psychological and health benefits.[9]

The Neo-Buddhism movements differ in their doctrines and practices from the historical, mainstream Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions. A co-creation of Western Orientalists and reform-minded Asian Buddhists, Buddhist modernism has been a reformulation of Buddhist concepts that has de-emphasized traditional Buddhist doctrines, cosmology, rituals, monasticism, clerical hierarchy and icon worship.[10] The term came into vogue during the colonial and post-colonial era studies of Asian religions, and is found in sources such as Louis de La Vallée-Poussin's 1910 article.[11]

Examples of Buddhist modernism movements and traditions include Humanistic Buddhism, Secular Buddhism, Engaged Buddhism, Navayana, the Japanese-initiated new lay organizations of Nichiren Buddhism such as Soka Gakkai, Girō Seno’o’s Youth League for Revitalizing Buddhism, the Dobokai movement and its descendants such as Oneness Buddhism, the New Kadampa Tradition and the missionary activity of Tibetan Buddhist masters in the West (leading the quickly growing Buddhist movement in France), the Vipassana Movement, the Triratna Buddhist Community, Dharma Drum Mountain, Fo Guang Shan, Won Buddhism, the Great Western Vehicle, Tzu Chi, and Juniper Foundation.