As the practice of mindfulness finds its way into mainstream Western culture, more and more people today find themselves engaging in a form of Buddhist meditation. Such men and women may have little or no interest in Buddhism as a religion; their adoption of meditation occurs entirely within secular contexts such as healthcare, education, or the workplace.
The very fact that a core practice of an ancient world religion can be shown through clinical trials to be effect irrespective of whether one is a Buddhist raises fundamental questions about the nature of Buddhism itself. Is this tradition best characterized as a religion? Or did it start out as a practical philosophy and mutate into a religion. Might we still be able to recover from the teachings of the Buddha a vision of human flourishing that is secular rather than religious in orientation yet without compromising the integrity of the dharma?
~Stephen Batchelor, in Secular Buddhism