The Fate of Traditional Enlightenment in the West



This chapter traces the ongoing transformation of the traditional Buddhist enlightenment ideal in convert Western Buddhist communities due to its conflict with deeply held Western beliefs concerning human well-being and flourishing. One way to resolve the tensions between enlightenment and eudaimonia would be to “domesticate” enlightenment by blending those aspects of it that are consonant with modern Western belief with compatible aspects of eudaimonia. This new resulting ideal, “eudaimonic enlightenment,” could serve as the new end-goal of modern Western Buddhist practice. The chapter proposes a ten-attribute model of eudaimonic enlightenment that illustrates what such a blended ideal might look like. It then concludes by demonstrating that more than being a mere thought experiment, this blended ideal is already reflected in the contemporary rhetoric of many Western Secular Buddhist, Insight Meditation, and Zen Buddhist communities.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.White PlainsUSA

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