Being human has never been more complex. Technology and information inundate us. Change has never been so intense or rapid. Nearly everything has been commoditized, and the dominant for-profit culture makes spiritual clarity and community belonging difficult to engender.

I’m interested in how secular Buddhism — a relatively new development in the world of Buddhist practice — can serve as a resource for people who are seeking to escape atomization and instead create loving connections with each other and nature. Offering a humanistic and pragmatic essence that eschews metaphysical absolutes, secular Buddhism suggests an approach to lived ethics without being sectarian or necessarily incompatible with religious practices from other traditions.

The primary Buddhist impulse was and is democratic: all humans have the same nature as a potentiality for personal and social understanding and loving behavior. All of us are equally deserving of happiness, awareness, and spiritual attainment. This democratic...

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