The Faces of Buddhism in America / Edition 1

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Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in the United States, with adherents estimated in the several millions. But what exactly defines a "Buddhist"? This has been a much-debated question in recent years, particularly in regard to the religion's bifurcation into two camps: the so-called "imported" or ethnic Buddhism of Asian immigrants and the "convert" Buddhism of a mostly middle-class, liberal, intellectual elite. In this timely collection Charles S. Prebish and Kenneth K. Tanaka bring together some of the leading voices in Buddhist studies to examine the debates surrounding contemporary Buddhism's many faces.

The contributors investigate newly Americanized Asian traditions such as Tibetan, Zen, Nichiren, Jodo Shinshu, and Theravada Buddhism and the changes they undergo to meet the expectations of a Western culture desperate for spiritual guidance. Race, feminism, homosexuality, psychology, environmentalism, and notions of authority are some of the issues confronting Buddhism for the first time in its three-thousand-year history and are powerfully addressed here.

In recent years American Buddhism has been featured as a major story on ABC television news, National Public Radio, and in other national media. A strong new Buddhist journalism is emerging in the United States, and American Buddhism has made its way onto the Internet. The faces of Buddhism in America are diverse, active, and growing, and this book will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding this vital religious movement.

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What People Are Saying

John Daido Loori
This book is sure to be an invaluable resource not only to Buddhist scholars, but to the practitioners as well (John Daido Loori is Roshi Abbott of Zen Mountain Monastery).
Martin Baumann
A fascinating collection of the most interesting and instructive papers on the current state of affairs in American Buddhism. -- Author of Deutsch Buddhisten
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520213012
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/22/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 350
  • Sales rank: 1,070,462
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles S. Prebish is Associate Professor of Religion at Pennsylvania State University and author and editor of numerous works, including American Buddhism and Buddhist Monastic Discipline. He is currently coeditor of the electronic Journal of Buddhist Ethics. Kenneth K. Tanaka is Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Institute for Buddhist Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and the author of Ocean: An
Introduction to Jodo-Shinshu Buddhism in America
(1997). He is president of the Buddhist Council of Northern California.

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Table of Contents

In Memoriam: Reverend Dr. Yehan Numata 1897-1994
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 American Buddhist Traditions in Transition
1 Chinese Buddhism in America: Identity and Practice 13
2 Shin Buddhism in America: A Social Perspective 31
3 Japanese Zen in America: Americanizing the Face in the Mirror 49
4 Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai in America: The Pioneer Spirit 79
5 Tibetan Buddhism in America: The Development of American Vajrayana 99
6 Korean Buddhism in America: A New Style of Zen 117
7 Vietnamese Buddhism in North America: Tradition and Acculturation 129
8 Theravada Buddhism in America: Prospects for the Sangha 147
9 Insight Meditation in the United States: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness 163
Pt. 2 Issues in American Buddhism
10 Who Is a Buddhist? Charting the Landscape of Buddhist America 183
11 Divided Dharma: White Buddhists, Ethnic Buddhists, and Racism 196
12 Americanizing the Buddha: Paul Carus and the Transformation of Asian Thought 207
13 Buddhist and Western Psychotherapies: An Asian American Perspective 228
14 Helping the Iron Bird Fly: Western Buddhist Women and Issues of Authority in the Late 1990s 238
15 Coming Out in the Sangha: Queer Community in American Buddhism 253
16 Responding to the Cries of the World: Socially Engaged Buddhism in North America 266
Epilogue: The Colors and Contours of American Buddhism 287
Notes 299
Selected Bibliography 343
List of Illustrations 349
Contributors 351
Index 355
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