The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition / Edition 1

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Overview


Today, many in western society find themselves seeking more satisfying spiritual lives. Faiths formerly seen as exotic have suddenly become attractive alternatives in our multicultural society. This is especially true of Buddhism, which is the focus of constant media attention, thanks in part to celebrity converts, major motion pictures, and the popularity of the Dalai Lama. Following this recent trend, James Coleman argues that a new and radically different form of this ancient faith is emerging.
Investigating the contemporary scene, Coleman finds that Western teachers have borrowed liberally from different Buddhist traditions that have had little interaction with each other in Asia, that men and women practice together as equals, and that the path of meditation and spiritual practice is offered to everyone, not just an elite cadre of monks. Drawing on interviews with noted teachers and lay practitioners, as well as a survey completed by members of seven North American Buddhist centers, Coleman depicts the colorful variety of new Buddhists today, from dilettantes to devoted students and the dedicated teachers who guide their spiritual progress. He also details the problems that have arisen ,especially with regard to gender roles, sex, and power.
Exploring the appeal of this exotic faith in postmodern society and questioning its future in a global consumer culture, The New Buddhism provides a thorough and fascinating guide to Western Buddhism today.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An important contribution to the growing literature on American Buddhism."--Peter N. Gregory, Tricycle

"A valuable contribution to our sociological understanding of Buddhism in the West and particularly in the United States. . . . essential reading for anyone with serious interest in the field. . . . With its intelligent method, approachable style, wealth of data, and educated insights, this book remains an indispensable resource for and available addition to the study of the rapidly expanding practice of American Buddhism."--Journal of Religion

Library Journal
Coleman (sociology, California Polytechnic State Univ., San Luis Obispo) presents an insightful, informative, and contemporary survey of Buddhism in the West (meaning the United States and England). A practicing Buddhist for 15 years, he prepared for this work by reading numerous books on Buddhism, conducting structured interviews with Buddhist teachers and students, and surveying seven Buddhist centers in North America, which together represent the three major traditions, namely, Zen, Vipassana, and Tibetan. In each chapter, he deals with the similarities and differences of these three traditions as they find expression in the West. Chapters cover the Asian roots of the traditions, how Buddhism spread in the West, core beliefs and practices, gender issues, why Americans from other religious traditions are taking up Buddhist practice, and the future of Buddhism in the West. Coleman's deft handling of his material provides a feast of insightful information on how Buddhism is affecting many Americans and being adapted in the West. Two appendixes offer a list of Buddhist centers in the West and the survey used by Coleman to gather data. Highly recommended.--David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195152418
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James William Coleman is Professor of Sociology at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a specialization in the sociology of religion, he has been a practicing Buddhist for the last fifteen years.

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