As meditation divorced from the Buddhadharma (and the Buddhadharma itself) become popular in the West, there are questions to consider.
1. First, as secular meditation becomes popular as a stress reliever and goes into all areas of Western life—from therapy to education—it is clear that it is benefiting these individuals who meditate. But is it also becoming a form of spiritual materialism? Is it merely stopping at the self-help comfort zone?
2. Do people cling to the eyes-closed and private peace aspect of meditation as introduced most commonly in Hatha yoga, mindfulness, or vipassana spheres and shy away from opening the eyes and developing a peace which can be taken out into the world to benefit others? In other words, is this secular form of meditation becoming “all about me,” without introducing the aspect of awareness which develops compassion? Or are people introduced to secular meditation becoming more open and curious, leading them to the study of dharma and dharmic methods which introduce compassion, like tonglen ?
3. If mindfulness or vipassana is all that is taught in a secular fashion and context, is meditation in danger of becoming commercialized? Although meditation is intrinsically beneficial, is it still dharma without any teachings on liberation?
4. Is the Buddhadharma in the West itself falling prey to bourgeois comfort and convenience—sometimes called “cozy” dharma? Can the pursuit of liberation become a casual mass movement?
5. Buddha and his students were supported in Jetagrove by the wealthy merchant Anathapindika. Is the value of a small community around an authentic teacher still a viable model for today?
6. If dharma teachers seek approval and popularity, success and gain, are they perpetuating spiritual materialism or is their motivation to be of benefit to a greater majority? How often do teachers become corrupted by playing the numbers game with students after earning initial celebrity attention and money?
Editor: Anne Clendening
Like elephant spirituality on Facebook.
hot on elephant
How I stopped Speed Dating my Passions & finally Committed. 236 shares New Moon in Scorpio: Only those who Believe in Magic will Find It. 5,967 shares She Smiles as she Cries: the Story of High-functioning Depression. 5,101 shares A Homemade Buddhist Ritual for Letting Go. 615 shares 10 Things to Know about Dating a Scorpio (& Why they Love Sex). 605 shares Living with C-PTSD Following an Abusive Relationship. 2,841 shares November Energy Forecast: Love & the Twin Flame magic of 11:11. 1,581 share Why we must Break to Heal. 1,042 share Why it’s Okay we Won’t ever have Sex. 308 shares To my Diego: 4 Poems by Frida Kahlo that Demonstrate the Exquisite Nature of Love. 655 shares