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What are the differences between secular and Buddhist meditation, and why someone might choose to practice one over the other? While both forms of meditation have similar techniques, there are differences in intention and focus.

Secular mindfulness is aimed at helping people feel better and live happier lives. Its primary purpose is to calm the mind, regulate emotions, and increase awareness of both internal and external experiences. This is achieved through various techniques such as breathwork, yoga, and meditation. The byproducts of secular mindfulness are improved sleep, communication, and overall well-being.

On the other hand, Buddhist meditation has a different intention. The primary goal is to cultivate a sense of liberation or freedom, where one is not at the mercy of their cravings or attachments. The practice of Buddhist meditation involves confronting uncomfortable thoughts and emotions, which may not always feel good. This is because the root cause of suffering is identified as our craving and dissatisfaction in life.

Buddhist meditation involves understanding the mind and its root causes. Instead of providing a therapeutic antidote, the practice emphasizes observation and comprehension of the problem before seeking a solution. This observation can help individuals understand their thoughts and emotions, and develop a sense of non-attachment and compassion.

One of the main differences between secular and Buddhist meditation is the emphasis on ethics. Buddhist meditation places great importance on how one lives their life, as this can influence the experiences they have in the world. Training in non-attachment and compassion can enable people to live happier, healthier lives. While secular mindfulness is a good starting point for many people, some may eventually seek to go deeper into the practice and explore its history.

Understanding the roots of secular mindfulness can lead individuals to explore the practice of Buddhist meditation. In conclusion, both secular and Buddhist meditation have their unique benefits and intentions. The choice to practice one over the other ultimately depends on an individual's personal goals and intentions. Whether one seeks to improve their overall well-being or cultivate a sense of liberation and freedom, both practices can lead to a happier, healthier life.

In this episode, you'll discover:

  • Secular mindfulness focuses on feeling better and living happily, while Buddhist mindfulness aims for liberation and freedom from craving and attachments.
  • Buddhist meditation involves confronting uncomfortable aspects of life to understand and overcome them, while secular mindfulness may avoid them.
  • Buddhist mindfulness emphasizes ethics and compassion, which can lead to happier and healthier living.

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Manoj Dias

Secular mindfulness the greatest intent of that practice is to help us, feel better and live happily. And so we do that by being able to calm our minds down by being able to regulate our emotions. As a byproduct of that, we sleep better. We communicate better, we become essentially more mindful and more aware of our internal external experience.

The slight difference when it comes to Buddhist mindfulness is that the intention isn't to necessarily feel good or feel calm. They are byproducts of the practice, but the intention is really to cultivate what we call liberation or a sense of freedom. And the simplest way to describe what that really means is. A quality where we are not at the mercy of our craving or our attachments. And so in every waking life for most of us, we are attached to certain things, whether it's people, ways of being, ways of life, and we tend to crave things.

We tend to be really motivated by acquiring certain things, and that the root of Buddhist meditation is the understanding that our craving and our dissatisfaction goes a long way to the suffering that we experience as humans. So the distinction there is that when we practice Buddhist meditation, it's not about feeling good.

Oftentimes it doesn't feel good because we are either sitting for hours or we're reflecting on topics. That are quite challenging, where a secular mindfulness is more therapeutic. So we think about it as a way to, live our lives, our existing lives, without any sort of belief system in a way that feels, in a way that enables us to live happier, more healthy lives.

So from the sound of it, I mean, I'm a scientist here, so I'm looking at it objectively. Why would one want to go through the Buddhist meditation when.


Dr. Latt Mansor

The secular and mindfulness actually brings you happiness and bring you a sort of holistic, sort of healing process. And then you get theBuddhist, meditation where most often than not you are sort of put to in a situation where you have to confront, you know, things that are not entirely comfortable. So why would one choose to do that?


Manoj Dias

It's a great question. I love discussing this with a scientist too, which is really awesome. I think in my experience, we realize that, Freud talks a lot about the pleasure principle in his work where we tend to be orientated towards things that make us feel good most of the time, and so we'll naturally tend to seek them out. But the reality is, when it comes to life, we don't always get things that are pleasant and pleasurable. We tend to get everything.

And so one way is to be able to avoid the things that are unpleasant and to be calm and peaceful.

And we might avoid toxic people. We might quit a job that's too stressful. We might leave a relationship that is difficult , which are all wise things that could lead to happiness. But then there's also another belief where we can sit with and really meet the things that challenge us. Which is a lot of our lives. So when it comes to our stress, anxiety, depression, whatever it is, we can begin to sit with it. We can begin to understand it. And one of my teachers, Joseph Goldstein once said that, if you want to understand the mind, You need to sit down and observe it.

And so much of Buddhist meditation practice is observing the mind, not necessarily applying a therapeutic antidote to the experience, but to really understand the root cause of the experience. And so, an old analogy that's been thrown around a number of times is that we think of that the Buddha as being the first psychologist, right?

In which case, you know, he's not necessarily giving you, an antidote straight away. He's really looking at the problem, what is the problem, what is the root cause of the problem? And what is the solution? The solution can often be a way of experiencing the rest of our lives, a way of moving through the world. And so Buddhist meditation has a strong emphasis on ethics and so, how we live our lives is just as important as the things we eat or the yoga practices that we do, or the people we hang out with. How we perceive the world can also influence the kind of things that we experience in the world.

Being able to train in letting go, to being able to train in non-attachment, to be able to train in compassion enables us to live happier, more healthy lives. And that's not necessarily to say one is better than the other secular or Buddhist meditation. I think naturally most people study secular mindfulness to a point where they start to wonder, is there more to this than.

The feeling I'm getting of being calm, peaceful, and sleeping. And for those people it's, it's really beneficial to go deeper into the history of the practice because secular mindfulness really did begin with Buddhist mindfulness.

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