Japanese Buddhism was introduced to a wide Western audience when a delegation of Buddhist priests attended the World's Parliament of Religions, part of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In describing and analyzing this event, Judith Snodgrass challenges the predominant view of Orientalism as a one-way process by which Asian cultures are understood strictly through Western ideas. Restoring agency to the Buddhists themselves, she shows how they helped reformulate Buddhism as a modern world religion with specific appeal to the West while simultaneously reclaiming authority for the tradition within a rapidly changing Japan. Snodgrass explains how the Buddhism presented in Chicago was shaped by the institutional, social, and political imperatives of the Meiji Buddhist revival movement in Japan and was further determined by the Parliament itself, which, despite its rhetoric of fostering universal brotherhood and international goodwill, was thoroughly permeated with confidence in the superiority of American Protestantism. Additionally, in the context of Japan's intensive diplomatic campaign to renegotiate its treaties with Western nations, the nature of Japanese religion was not simply a religious issue, Snodgrass argues, but an integral part of Japan's bid for acceptance by the international community.
Engaged Buddhism is founded on the belief that genuine spiritual practice requires an active involvement in society. Engaged Buddhism in the West illuminates the evolution of this new chapter in the Buddhist tradition - including its history, leadership, and teachings - and addresses issues such as violence and peace, race and gender, homelessness, prisons, and the environment. Eighteen new studies explore the activism of renowned leaders and organizations, such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Bernard Glassman, Joanna Macy, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and the Free Tibet Movement, and the emergence of a new Buddhism in North America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia.
Buddhist studies is a rapidly changing field of research, constantly transforming and adapting to new scholarship. This creates a problem for instructors, both in a university setting and in monastic schools, as they try to develop a curriculum based on a body of scholarship that continually shifts in focus and expands to new areas. Teaching Buddhism establishes a dialogue between the community of instructors of Buddhism and leading scholars in the field who are updating, revising, and correcting earlier understandings of Buddhist traditions. Each chapter presents new ideas within a particular theme of Buddhist studies and explores how courses can be enhanced with these insights. Contributors in the first section focus on the typical approaches, figures, and traditions in undergraduate courses, such as the role of philosophy in Buddhism, Nagarjuna, Yogacara Buddhism, tantric traditions, and Zen Buddhism. They describe the impact of recent developments-like new studies in the cognitive sciences-on scholarship in those areas. Part Two examines how political engagement and ritual practice have shaped the tradition throughout its history. Focus then shifts to the issues facing instructors of Buddhism-dilemmas for the scholar-practitioner in the academic and monastic classroom, the tradition's possible roles in teaching feminism and diversity, and how to present the tradition in the context of a world religions course. In the final section, contributors offer stories of their own experiences teaching, paying particular attention to the ways in which American culture has impacted them. They discuss the development of courses on American Buddhism; using course material on the family and children; the history and trajectory of a Buddhist-Christian dialog; and Buddhist bioethics, environmentalism, economic development, and social justice. In synthesizing this vast and varied body of research, the contributors in this volume have provided an invaluable service to the field
Buddhism began to take root in the West at just the same time that women’s voices were arising to find expression here—after millennia of being relegated to the background. If that was a coincidence, it was an auspicious one, for the women who emerged as Buddhist teachers have been among the most articulate of Dharma-communicators—and they remain an indelible feature of Western Buddhism as the practice matures here. The remarkable range of their teaching is showcased in this anthology. The pieces featured touch on the topics that are at the heart of our lives—relationships, uncertainty, love, parenting, food, stress, mortality, living fully, and social responsibility. These approachable, engaging teachings illuminate Buddhist concepts and practices, such as meditation, tonglen, lovingkindness, cultivating gratitude, and deep relaxation. The book contains wisdom from such well-known and respected contemporary Buddhist teachers as Pema Chödrön, Ayya Khema, Sharon Salzberg, Toni Packer, Maurine Stuart, Karen Maezen Miller, Khandro Rinpoche, Jan Chozen Bays, Sister Chan Khong, Sylvia Boorstein, Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Darlene Cohen, Joanna Macy, Bonnie Myotai Treace, Tsultrim Allione, Tenzin Palmo, Tara Brach, Joan Sutherland, Carolyn Rose Gimian, Joan Halifax, Charlotte Joko Beck, and many others.
This book examines if it is possible to teach wisdom. It considers how people at different times and places have engaged the age-old question of how (or whether) we can learn to live a good life, and what that life is like. Offering a range of perspectives, coverage considers Greek and Confucian philosophy; Christian, Islamic and Buddhist religion; African tradition, as well as contemporary scientific approaches to the study of wisdom.
Why do present day women take an interest in a “middle age” religion? Buddhism like Christianity was founded by a male teacher and was organised, transmitted and interpreted by men. This book is “a protocol of an encounter”. A contemporary woman has read the teachings of the Buddha “against the grain” and has found some first answers and many more questions. In order for a religion to stay “alive” it has to be rediscovered by every generation anew. Just to follow tradition is not enough. Whenever women take interest in a traditional religion – be it Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism or Islam – they are given a double task: We are looking for a contemporary expression of an old teaching. Many contemporary male Buddhists from the West and some from Asia are working on this task. Women have to read patriarchal teachings critically “with the eyes of a woman”. The Heart of the Lotus presents central teachings of Buddhism and describes traps we fall into, if we don not consider our cultural background and our biological sex and social gender. It takes up typical questions women are asking and presents first results: concepts and exercices which can support contemporary women (and men) on their path to inner and outer freedom.
These dialogues with child, adolescent and adult psychotherapists and child psychiatrists focus on their personal as well as professional experiences. All the contributors have a long-standing practice of Buddhism or other forms of meditation. The relevance of this to their clinical work with infants, children, adolescents, families and adults is described. Buddhist principles such as suffering, impermanence, non-attachment, no-self and the Four Noble Truths influence the contributors' practice of psychotherapy with children and with the child in the adult. Similarities and differences between the two traditions of Buddhism and psychotherapy are highlighted in these dialogues, which are embedded in deep, personal and transforming experiences that are shared by the authors.
The number of Buddhists in Australia has grown dramatically in recent years. In 2006, Buddhists accounted for 2.1 per cent of Australia's population, almost doubling the 1996 figures, and making it the fastest growing religion in the country. This book analyses the arrival and localisation of Buddhism in Australia in the context of the globalisation of Buddhism. Australia's close geographical proximity to Asia has encouraged an intense flow of people, ideas, practices and commodities from its neighbouring countries, while at the same time allowing the development of the religion to be somewhat different to its growth in other Western countries. The book seeks to explore the Buddhist experience in Australia, looking at the similarities and particularities of this experience in relation to other Western countries. The inception of Buddhism in Australia is investigated, and a voice is provided to people on the ground who have been fundamental in making this process possible. For the first time, academic analysis and practitioners' experience are juxtaposed to show the adaptations and challenges of Buddhism in Australia from above and below. This book is a unique and valuable contribution to the study of Buddhism in the West, globalization of religion, and studies in Asian Religion.
Generations X and Y are plugged into the contemporary world of consumption, popular culture, and the internet. These generations treat knowledge and belief as a more flexible concept, often focusing on the practical rather than the theoretical and often drawing on conflicting sources in both popular and cyber culture. Their approach to religious belief and practice requires a new way of studying the sociology of religion. 'Sociology of Religion for Generations X and Y' examines key world religions - Buddhism, Christianity and Islam - as well as newer religious groups, such as Scientology, New Age, Witchcraft and online communities such as Jediism and Matrixism. The book covers a range of key concepts: secularisation and modernisation, re-enchantment, the 'McDonaldisation' of society, and the easternisation of the west. Each chapter opens with a case study from popular culture or the internet which takes the reader to the heart of the topic being discussed. Employing both classical sociological theory and contemporary critical theory, 'Sociology of Religion for Generations X and Y' explains where contemporary religion and spirituality are coming from, where they are now, and where they are going.
Author: Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Michael Jerryson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
As an incredibly diverse religious system, Buddhism is constantly changing. The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism offers a comprehensive collection of work by leading scholars in the field that tracks these changes up to the present day. Taken together, the book provides a blueprint to understanding Buddhism's past and uses it to explore the ways in which Buddhism has transformed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The volume contains 41 essays, divided into two sections. The essays in the first section examine the historical development of Buddhist traditions throughout the world. These chapters cover familiar settings like India, Japan, and Tibet as well as the less well-known countries of Vietnam, Bhutan, and the regions of Latin America, Africa, and Oceania. Focusing on changes within countries and transnationally, this section also contains chapters that focus explicitly on globalization, such as Buddhist international organizations and diasporic communities. The second section tracks the relationship between Buddhist traditions and particular themes. These chapters review Buddhist interactions with contemporary topics such as violence and peacebuilding, and ecology, as well as Buddhist influences in areas such as medicine and science. Offering coverage that is both expansive and detailed, The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism delves into some of the most debated and contested areas within Buddhist Studies today.