NEW BOOK> Secularizing Buddhism, Plus Conversation Series

Nikko Odiseos's picture

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to share a new release as well as a set of discussions between many of the contributors and others (details below).

Secularizing Buddhism: New Perspectives on a Dynamic Tradition
Edited by Richard Payne with contributions by 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.

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.


1 Has Secularism Become a Religion? Some Observations on Pāli Buddhism’s Movement to the International Stage 
Sarah Shaw

2 Buddhism and Secular Subjectivities: Individualism and Fragmentation in the Mirrors of Secularism 
David L. McMahan

3 American Cultural Baggage: The Racialized Secularization of Mindfulness in Schools 
Funie Hsu

4 Curating Culture: The Secularization of Buddhism through Museum Display 
Pamela d. Winfield

5 Establishing the Pure Land in the Human Realm 
Charles B. Jones

6 The Shared Origins of Traditionalism and Secularism in Theravāda Buddhism 
Kate Crosby

7 Manifesting the Buddha Dharma in a Secular Age 
Bhikkhu Bodhi

8 Buddhism without a View: A Friendly Conversation with Stephen Batchelor’s Secular Buddhism 
Philippe Turenne

9 Secular Buddhism in a Neoliberal Age 
Ron Purser

10 The Modern Mindfulness Movement and the Search for Psychological Redemption 
Kathleen Gregory

11 Avoiding Rebirth: Modern Buddhist Views on Past and Future Lives 
Roger R. Jackson

12 Naturalistic Buddhism
Gil Fronsdal

13 Conscious and Unconscious Dynamics in the Secularizing Discourse 
Richard K. Payne

PAGES: 360
ISBN: 9781611808896

Shambhala Publications and Tricycle are teaming up on a conversation series around this book:

Richard Payne in conversation with James Shaheen: Revisioning Buddhism For the Modern World
AUGUST 02, 2021  3–4 P.M. ET
The oppositions of East and West, tradition and innovation, religious and secular have shaped the contemporary Buddhist landscape. Secularizing Buddhism editor Richard Payne asks: How can we move beyond binaries to envision the future of the dharma? In this kick-off event, Payne joins Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen to explore secularization as a dynamic and ongoing process changing the ways we think and talk about what Buddhism is. They will discuss the history of Buddhist modernism, the importance for practitioners to understand the assumptions and implications of secularization, and the path to creating a more open and fluid relationship between tradition and modernity.

American Cultural Baggage: Funie Hsu in conversation with Chenxing Han on Race, Secularism, and Mindfulness
AUGUST 03, 2021  4–5 P.M. ET
What does race have to do with secularism? Secularism is often thought of as a neutral process—but Funie Hsu’s research shows us how race is deeply intertwined in the secularization of Buddhism in America. In this conversation with Be The Refuge author Chenxing Han, Dr. Hsu discusses how these dynamics play out in mindfulness programs in American schools, and the lived impact of racialized secularization for Asian Americans.

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi in Conversation with Gil Fronsdal: Preserving the Path to Awakening
AUGUST 04, 2021  3–4 P.M. ET
Western Buddhism focuses on existential and psychological issues over the pursuit of awakening as described in traditional Buddhist texts. American Theravada monk Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi explores how this orientation is rooted in key factors behind the first wave of Western interest in the dharma in the 1960s. In conversation with Insight Meditation teacher and author Gil Fronsdal, Ven. Bodhi argues that core tenets of the traditional Buddhist worldview should be preserved so as to protect the future of the dharma as a genuine path to liberation.

Roger Jackson in conversation with Jay Garfield: The Question of Rebirth in Modern Buddhism
AUGUST 05, 2021  3–4 P.M. ET
Do you have to believe in rebirth to be a Buddhist? While belief in rebirth is central to traditional Buddhist cosmology, Western secular Buddhism does not adopt a belief in past or future lives. Roger Jackson, emeritus professor of Asian studies and religion at Carleton College and author of Is Enlightenment Possible?, joins philosophy professor and Tibetan Buddhism scholar Jay Garfield to explore both sides of the debate over whether one can be Buddhist without believing in rebirth— and to consider what this debate reveals more broadly about Buddhist modernism.

There are many more recent releases on our website,,  as well.

Desk and Exam copies can be requested from our worldwide distributor, Penguin Random House, at

Best Wishes,
Nikko Odiseos, Shambhala Publications