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Buddhadharma : Winter 2017
40 Buddhadharma: The PracTiTioner's QuarTerly the foundational teachings of Theravada Buddhism. In his book, Ethical Mindfulness (2015), he discusses coming out of the closet as a Buddhist teacher in secular mindfulness contexts, asserting that mindfulness is more powerful when taught in the context of the eightfold path. This perspective aligns well with what Vince Horn has called “second generation mindfulness,” new forms that con- structively incorporate critiques of mindfulness and are marked by attention to relationality and ethics. Three emergIng Turns In my forthcoming book, I posit three emerging turns, or sensibilities, within meditation-based convert Buddhism: critical, contextual, and collective. The critical turn refers to a growing acknowledgement of limitations within Buddhist communities. First-generation practitio- ners tended to be very celebratory of “American Buddhism,” enthus- ing that they were creating new, more modern, and “essential” forms of Buddhism that were nonhierarchical, gender-egalitarian, and free of the cultural and religious “baggage” of their Asian predecessors. While the modernization and secularization of Buddhism certainly continues, there is now much more discussion about the problems and pitfalls of these processes, with some exposing the Western eth- nocentrism that has operated behind the “essential” versus “cultural” distinction. This understanding acknowledges that meditation-based convert Buddhism is as culturally shaped as any other form of Bud- dhism. Some, drawing attention to what is lost when the wider religious context of Buddhism is discarded, have called for a reen- gagement with neglected aspects of the tradition such as ritual and community. The contextual turn refers to the increasing awareness of how Buddhist practice is shaped and limited by the specific social and cultural contexts in which it unfolds. In the case of the mindfulness Secular Buddhists “find no evidence for” or “consider irrelevant” metaphysical concepts such as rebirth or supernatural elements such as devas, and they have a “this-worldly” orientation and focus for their practice.