Buddhism in Americaby Richard Hughes Seager, Misha Kavka
Over the past half century, Buddhism has grown from a transplanted philosophy to a full-fledged religious movement in America, rich in its own practices, leaders, adherents, and institutions. Long favored as an essential guide to this history, Buddhism in America covers the three major groups shaping the tradition—an emerging Asian immigrant population, native-born converts, and old-line Asian American Buddhists—and their distinct yet spiritually connected efforts to remake Buddhism in a Western context.
This edition updates existing text and adds three new essays on contemporary developments in American Buddhism, particularly the aging of the baby boom population and its effect on American Buddhism’s modern character. New material includes revised information on the full range of communities profiled in the first edition; an added study of a second generation of young, Euro-American leaders and teachers; an accessible look at the increasing importance of meditation and neurobiological research; and a provocative consideration of the mindfulness movement in American culture. The volume maintains its detailed account of South and East Asian influences on American Buddhist practices, as well as instances of interreligious dialogue, socially activist Buddhism, and complex gender roles within the community. Introductory chapters describe Buddhism’s spread across America, arriving with the nineteenth-century transcendentalists and spreading rapidly with the Beat poets of the 1950s. The volume concludes with a frank assessment of the challenges and prospects of American Buddhism in the twenty-first century.
Seager's account convincingly places developments within the broader context of the North American historyof religion and immigration. Apart from the perceptive observations and the straightforward structure, it is this contextualising perspective which gives the book its particular strength. Although clearly intended for a general readership, a specialist will nevertheless benefit from being directed to take the experience of 'immigrant Buddhism' as seriously as that of 'convert Buddhism'.
"This well-informed book provides a comprehensive survey of a variety of Buddhist traditions in the contemporary U.S.... [Its] strength, apart from being a mine of information, is Seager's insistence on taking a historically informed and comparative perspective."Religious Studies Review
"This book cries out for use as a textbook for classes on Buddhism in America."The Journal of Religion
"Unbiased and insightful, Buddhism in America offers a view of how far the Buddhist movement has come in little more than a century and a peek at where it is going at the dawn of a new millennium."Tricycle
This book cries out for use as a textbook for classes on Buddhism in America.
This well-informed book provides a comprehensive survey of a variety of Buddhist traditions in the contemporary U.S.... [its] strength, apart from being a mine of information, is Seager's insistence on taking a historically informed and comparative perspective.
Unbiased and insightful, Buddhism in America offers a view of how far the Buddhist movement has come in little more than a century and a peek at where it is going at the dawn of a new millennium.
- Columbia University Press
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What People are Saying About This
The first comprehensive treatment of Buddhism in America to take seriously the experiences of immigrants, Buddhism in America is a fascinating road map to the contemporary Buddhist landscape, with Seager as the expert guide.
Meet the Author
Richard Hughes Seager is professor of religious studies at Hamilton College and the author of Encountering the Dharma; The World's Parliament of Religions: The East-West Encounter, Chicago, 1893; and Dawn of Religious Pluralism: Voices from the World's Parliament of Religions.
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