Did Interest in Meditation Practice Skip a Generation?

I was listening to a great podcast called Mindful Cyborgs.
You can hear it here:

http://mindfulcyborgs.com/shows/2013/10/4/episode-8-backlit-parallax-enlightenment-via-monastic-notification-the-evolution-of-the-buddhist-geek

In it, Vince Horn states that when he started meditation practice back in 2003, there wasn’t really anyone his age practicing. It seemed to him as though there were many many baby boomers interested in meditation practice but very few in Generation X.

Fast forward to now. Millenials are interested in meditation. So, Vince made the claim that meditation practice seemed to have skipped Generation X.

This got me thinking. I was born in 1979. This makes me in Generation X, just barely.

I haven’t really been focused on the ages of individuals at the Buddhist temple I attend, but it seems like Vince’s assertion is correct. There are quite a few people younger than me around and quite a few that are much older, but in there mid 30s to 40s there do seem to be less.

Not that there are none. There are definitely some. But our lower numbers in comparison are noticeable when we pay attention.

I can think of some famous Buddhist teachers who are in my generation, Brad Warner comes to mind, but it’s worth noting that while he is Generation X, most of his students are Millenials.

I wonder if any studies have been done of this phenomenon.

In any case, I welcome the Millenials with open arms. I see meditation practice spreading in this era and that fills me with joy.

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About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher living in Kansas City. He gives online teachings through the Open Heart Project. He also runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. His writing has appeared in Lion's Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal.

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