The idea of a business built around meditation is open to criticism but this is not really the point: the real problem is the attempt to define enlightenment out of the mix and create something apart from the ‘path to enlightenment’. If there is a problem with the religion and a religion that defines or controls that path then define the aspect of consciousness we call ‘enlightenment’ as beyond that religion. But, please, don’t create a business mode that refuses to even mention enlightenment, defines it out of discourse as non-secular, or unscientific. How did such nonsense ever arise?
It springs from the way that modernity arose in an isolated European context and this delayed the entry of ancient legacies for their own reformation. The question of ‘enlightenment’ not being secular is a total misunderstanding of the term secular. You can in any case challenge the religion of buddhism, for example, but the idea of enlightenment is not the exclusive property of buddhists (now we have a hoard of variants in the Hindu legacy).
To create a stylized meditation practice based on the health benefits of meditation (to promote capitalist efficiency, e.g.) is a completely idiotic botch of the secular, to put it mildly.
The reality is also that the path to enlightenment became popular in the new age movement, then it began to scare people because it proposed something the large groups involved were unable to realize in any simple fashion. It is a long and difficult endeavor and the even worse reality is that most who enter this path will fail at it, and that is dangerous, because they can go mad with fear. I fault buddhists with proposing the very difficult and then leaving converts in the lurch, infected with the demon Mara (psychotic), bye. In fact the path of the boddhissattwas was originally we must suspect a way to deal with this difficult situation, by disguising failure as success. But it was an unfair trick to play on the seeker: he seems not to have realized he was being abndoned and denied the reality of enlightenment in the name of greater salvation. This situation arose at the same time as Xtianity and we must suspect a connection: the masses of the Occident were the object of elite contempt, and weren’t offered buddhism which they could hardly handle, instead ‘salvation’, a variant of the bhakti cult, and a thoroughly useless promise of being ‘saved’. But Xtianity went on with this to produce a remarkable social transformation over many centuries, salvation somehow: we tend to lose the connecting links, but the world of the Romans was gone by the Renaissance. But the result wasn’t enlightenment, but a precursor to the ideological manipulation we see in modern times. So the ways of this mystery are concealed from us. In a way meditation enters this situation and gets fixed right away: make sure meditation is a fake. We can’t have madmen seeking enlightenment in our corporations. They must be stupid, and mediation must play ball with profits. So it is part of the same muddle that meditation gets castrated as a business, it being secular to eliminate enlightenment. What a trashy strategy.
A real business might charge to give the man off the street shock treatment: you have just so many lives. Reach enlightenment or perish like a dog taken to the pound. We will help you start, it’s worth it. you need help on the path to enlightenment. Put the boddhissatwas out of business by providing the real thing…How secular…
Terrorizing customers to produce profits doesn’t seem like much of a business plan, but who knows. The other option was beggars, with begging bowls. On fifth avenue? Buddhism was a fairly big corporation too, the boddhissatwa path was even more dicey that corporate capitalism. Maybe abandon all of it and find your own path. It may not be as easy as in India with its 15 million yogi-vagrants seeking the path, but you can dissemble and not look like a buddhist pedestrian. And you can meditate for free. With any luck you may not have wasted most of your lives with enough time to reach enlightenment.