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In the 21st century, the new information and communication technologies have provided a seedbed for secular Buddhism by making teachings and discussion more freely available and readily accessible, thus facilitating the formation of virtual and actual practice communities.

Today there are websites explicitly dedicated to secular Buddhism in Australia, Austria, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the USA.

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Rather, it interprets the early canonical teachings in a way that draws out their meaning in the Buddha's own historical context (the culture of the Gangetic plains in the fifth century BCE) while demonstrating their value and relevance to people living in our own time.

Both aspects of this interpretation are literally "secular" in that they evoke the Latin root word saeculum – a particular age or generation.

Within the framework of secular Buddhism, Buddhist doctrine may be stripped of any unspecified combination of various traditional beliefs that could be considered superstitious, or that cannot be tested through empirical research, namely: supernatural beings (such as devas, bodhisattvas, nāgas, pretas, Buddhas, etc.), merit and its transference, rebirth, Buddhist cosmology (including the existence of pure lands and hells), etc.

Traditional Buddhist ethics, such as conservative views regarding abortion, and human sexuality, may or may not be called into question as well.

Batchelor was a Buddhist monk ordained in the more traditional forms of Buddhism.

From his experience as a monk practicing Tibetan Buddhism and later Zen, he felt the need for a more secular and agnostic approach.

Moreover, many aspects of secular Buddhism have been prompted by organizational developments that began in lay Buddhist practice communities (sanghas) during the last decades of the 20th century, when the hierarchical features of Buddhist monastic culture were abandoned in favor of democratic principles of civic association.

In particular, the need to include women on an equal footing produced organizational innovations, which disrupted older patterns of patriarchal authority and gender exclusivity.

In adopting this post-metaphysical position, it parts company with existing religious forms of Buddhist orthodoxy, which have evolved since the Buddha's death.

Instead, it aligns itself with today's post-metaphysical philosophy, not least phenomenology, so finding itself on a convergent path with similar movements in radical Christian theology, as exemplified by the work of thinkers such as Don Cupitt and Gianni Vattimo.

Instead, secular Buddhism emphasizes a praxis that encourages autonomy and encompasses equally every aspect of one's humanity, as modeled by the noble eight-fold path (right vision, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration).

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