Pragmatic Buddhism


"Remember that the historical Buddha himself rejected most of the central “traditions” of his day. He rejected the fundamental Hindu doctrine of atman, or the “eternal Self,” and posited anatman in its place: selflessness. But the reason Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) rejected this doctrine was not because of a rebellious and irreverent mind, but because he saw that the concept of atman was hindering meaningful personal and social development for the Hindu people. He sensed that the lure of the attachment to the idea of a permanent, eternal Self, when no experience of permanence and eternalism is possible, led spiritual seekers down a dead path.


Tradition is simply a set of values and expectations that worked for a previous generation of peoples, but tradition says little of its value to us today when it is not appropriately weighed against the contemporary needs. This is just like the historical Buddha rejecting the traditions of his own day after seeing they no longer worked as well as they could. Instead, we must take the heart of the message and put it into whatever form works.


This is Pragmatic Buddhism: "Mindfulness made meaningful for today's world."


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