The emergence of Secular Insight Practice in Australia

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Buddhism In Australia: Traditions in Change, 2011, 1, pp. 23 - 35
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In Australia over the last three decades, secular insight (vipassana) meditation practice has increasingly drawn away from its Theravadin origins, thus exemplifying a wider trend in western Buddhist circles over the second half of the last century, to loosen ties with their Asian traditions of origin. In 1998 Batchelor articulated the divergence by drawing a contrast between 'religious Buddhism' and 'dharma practice' in his Buddhism without Beliefs (Batchelor 1998a), a contrast with resonances in the changes now unfolding in Australia. He elaborated his key concepts, not least the 'deep agnosticism' he discerned in the Buddha's own teaching, in other writings published in the same year (Batchelor 1998b; 1998c). The contrast acknowledges a strong tendency towards secularization in the re-rendering of Buddhism in culturally appropriate terms for westerners who, from the 1970s, began to practise meditation seriously in this tradition in significant numbers.
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