The Faces of Buddhism in America

ISBN 13: 9780520204607

The Faces of Buddhism in America

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9780520204607: The Faces of Buddhism in America

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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Review:

A Buddhist meditator attempts to create distance with his or her thoughts in order to gain perspective on them, to see what causes them and how they develop. Charles Prebish and Kenneth Tanaka have brought together 19 scholars and practitioners of Buddhism to gain some perspective on the origin and development of Buddhism itself--how it has taken root and grown in American soil. Much more than just the manifestation of a few college-educated whites sitting on cushions, American Buddhism is a panorama of diverse practices, ethnicities, and beliefs. Essays such as "Tibetan Buddhism in America" and "Responding to the Cries of the World" explore movements of Buddhism in America from the inside and the issues arising out of the Americanization of Buddhism, such as feminism, psychotherapy, and social engagement. One article underscores the importance of Paul Carus around the turn of the century, while another traces the growth of Insight Meditation through popular teachers such as Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. It's great to read a book that gets you deep into a piece of Buddhism, and it's also nice to see that each piece fits together in a bigger picture. --Brian Bruya

From the Inside Flap:

"This book is sure to be an invaluable resource not only to Buddhist scholars, but to the practitioners as well."—John Daido Loori, Roshi Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery

"This is a fascinating collection of the most interesting and instructive papers on the current state of affairs in American Buddhism. [The editors] provide a detailed stock-taking of the multifaceted dimension of the religion as it undergoes a rapid formation and transformation. . . . A highly welcome and informative volume."—Martin Baumann, author of Deutsche Buddhisten

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Published by University of California Press (1998)
ISBN 10: 0520204603 ISBN 13: 9780520204607
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Book Description University of California Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0520204603

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