The Impact of Buddhism on the Modern-Day Hippie Movement

The Impact of Buddhism on the Modern-Day Hippie Movement

In the 1960s, a group of young people known as hippies challenged the traditional values of American society. They advocated for peace, love, and freedom, and rejected materialism and conformity. While their movement eventually faded, its spirit lives on in today’s modern-day hippies. And one of the biggest influences – the impact of Buddhism.

by David Stone

Buddhism and its impact on the hippie movement

Buddhism has been around for thousands of years. But it didn’t achieve ‘world domination’ until the 1960s. Hippies — fueled by love, peace, freedom and drugs — embraced Buddhism as their own.

Embracing meditation as an escape paired with the psychedelic rock scene of the time.

Since Buddha welcomed peace and unity, his philosophy quickly seeped into the hippie culture – like protesting war or living off the grid.

Buddhism has changed over time and how it is practiced today

Buddhism has undergone quite a few changes over its long history. From its origins as an ascetic spiritual practice to becoming one of the most practiced religions around the world, Buddhism has seen its fair share of twists and turns.

Nowadays, it consists of a variety of practices. Some are surprisingly modern and adapted to prevailing cultural traditions.

Despite this, sacred texts remain important in Buddhist practices and offer day-to-day living guidance. That entangles the Middle Way and ethical values listed in the Eightfold Path.

Buddhism’s benefits and impact on modern day hippies

Buddhism has earned popularity among modern-day hippies, providing a spiritual practice with an impressive list of benefits. Aside from cultivating inner peace and offering a more mindful outlook, following Buddhist teachings can bring down stress levels.

By engaging in activities such as meditation, yoga and mindfulness practices, one can work through difficult emotions and find balance.

The drawbacks of Buddhism for the modern-day hippie, including a lack of connection to others

Modern-day hippies looking for a way to find ultimate peace and purpose often turn to Buddhism While the practice itself is calming and meaningful, it does have its drawbacks.

Mainly, beyond the obvious search for inner joy and understanding, Buddhism sometimes falls short in its ability to create a sense of connection with others. After all, there’s not much room on a cushion or chant circle for someone else coming in on their journey.

While this lack of community can be enough to make many would-be Buddhists run away to join the Church of Friends around the campfire, that’s not necessarily a bad thing either.

Sometimes being at one with oneself while leaving all others behind is just what one needs to get back in touch with oneself.

How the impact of Buddhism creates a happy and healthy lifestyle

Buddhism is truly a trip – no, we don’t mean the religious kind you take to an exotic locale like India.

All jokes aside though, making the two sides of Buddhism – wisdom and compassion – work together can be a tricky affair, like two plates on separate ends of a tightrope. Balancing them is to achieve the spiritual harmony that one needs for a content life.

But how does one do it?

The answer flows like a river: focus on being both wise and compassionate in your actions and speech. Meditate often to channel your energy into constructive thoughts, and try to look at our existence from a detached view so you don’t get embroiled in petty dramas.

Once you have found this much-needed equilibrium, a peaceful serenity will take hold of your heart – and you’ll be ready to tackle even more difficult balancing acts.

Buddhism has a long and varied history. It has influenced many different cultures and groups, including the hippie movement.

Today, Buddhism is practiced in many different ways, but there are some common themes among them all. The benefits of Buddhism for the modern-day hippie include lower stress levels and peace of mind.

However, there are also some drawbacks to consider, such as a lack of connection to others. In order to create a happy and healthy lifestyle, it is important to balance the two sides of Buddhism.

And keep it real.

2 thoughts on “The Impact of Buddhism on the Modern-Day Hippie Movement

  1. The influences of Eastern meditation practices on hippies included several in addition to Buddhism: T.M., Transcendental Meditation, is based on Hinduism; there were also Hare Krishnas, and followers of the Rev. Sun Yung Moon, Bhagwan Rajneesh, Neem Karoli Baba & Ram Das, and many other (often false and questionable) gurus had foundations in Hinduism, Taoism and/or Buddhism. Buddhism includes 4 main yanas or paths, each a subset of the next, culminating in Ati Yoga (Great Perfection; Dzogchen, in Tibetan). The “greatest” of these vehicles (yogas, yanas) includes a focus on the development and manifestation of compassion and connection; the “lesser” vehicle (Hinayana) focuses on learning the methods purely for the practitioner’s benefit, but can become the foundation for progression into Mahayana and Vajrayana methods, which include the primary practice of Bodhicitta, which is centered in compassion. So, depending on the hippie person’s practices, they could be somewhat self-focused or entirely rooted in connection and compassion, or anywhere in between. Best to you,
    Sally Ember, EdD, meditator since 1972 and proud, compassionate hippie.

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