We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Westward Dharma

Buddhism beyond Asia

Charles S. Prebish

Publication Year: 2002

The first authoritative volume on the totality of Buddhism in the West, Westward Dharma establishes a comparative and theoretical perspective for considering the amazing variety of Buddhist traditions, schools, centers, and teachers that have developed outside of Asia. Leading scholars from North America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia explore the plurality and heterogeneity of traditions and practices that are characteristic of Buddhism in the West.

This recent, dramatic growth in Western Buddhism is accompanied by an expansion of topics and issues of Buddhist concern. The contributors to this volume treat such topics as the broadening spirit of egalitarianism; the increasing emphasis on the psychological, as opposed to the purely religious, nature of practice; scandals within Buddhist movements; the erosion of the distinction between professional and lay Buddhists; Buddhist settlement in Israel; the history of Buddhism in internment camps; repackaging Zen for the West; and women's dharma in the West. The interconnections of historical and theoretical approaches in the volume make it a rich, multi-layered resource.

Published by: University of California Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (57.1 KB)
p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.6 KB)
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF (70.1 KB)
pp. vii-x

List of Tables

pdf iconDownload PDF (39.2 KB)
pp. xi-xii

read more

Introduction: Paying Homage to the Buddha in the West

pdf iconDownload PDF (112.0 KB)
pp. 1-14

At the turn of the new millennium, Buddhism undoubtedly has become heard, visible, and experienced in numerous countries outside of Asia. The last decade of the twentieth century saw an unparalleled interest, and at times enthusiasm, for things Buddhist. ...

Part I: Profiling Global Buddhism: A Description of the Landscape

read more

1. Who Is a Buddhist? Night-Stand Buddhists and Other Creatures

pdf iconDownload PDF (113.3 KB)
pp. 17-33

An American Catholic bishop once confided to me with dismay that the Vietnamese who attend mass in his archdiocese are “not really Catholic.” Initially I was perplexed by this claim. Did he mean that they had not been baptized in their homeland? Something else? “They’re still too Buddhist,” he explained. ...

read more

2. The Spectrum of Buddhist Practice in the West

pdf iconDownload PDF (108.3 KB)
pp. 34-50

As Buddhism was propagated for its first twenty-five hundred years in diverse societies throughout Asia, a wide range of practices came to be followed both by “professional” Buddhists—namely, priests, monks, nuns, contemplatives, and scholars—and the laity. Differences in practices were especially salient in the training of professionals, ...

read more

3. Protective Amulets and Awareness Techniques, or How to Make Sense of Buddhism in the West

pdf iconDownload PDF (101.2 KB)
pp. 51-65

The past decades have seen a double growth regarding things Buddhist. In institutional terms, Buddhism has become firmly established in Western countries, with a bewildering multitude of schools, lineages, and traditions. Local groups and centers, as well as national and international organizations, continue to be founded. ...

read more

4. Studying the Spread and Histories of Buddhism in the West: The Emergence of Western Buddhism as a New Subdiscipline within Buddhist Studies

pdf iconDownload PDF (127.7 KB)
pp. 66-82

In 1975, when I taught my first academic course devoted solely to Buddhism in the United States, it was an incredibly challenging and frustrating enterprise. Even a casual perusal of the most popular books used as texts in introductory courses on Buddhism at that time reveals that Western Buddhism was not included in the discipline called Buddhist Studies. ...

Part II: Diffusion: The Histories of Buddhism in Western Countries

read more

5. Buddhism in Europe: Past, Present, Prospects

pdf iconDownload PDF (133.0 KB)
pp. 85-105

Interest in Buddhism has grown exponentially in Europe since the early 1990s. In television newscasts, talk shows, and newspaper reports, Buddhism has been featured widely. Around the turn of the twenty-first century, Buddhism is “in” in many European countries. ...

read more

6. American Buddhism in the Making

pdf iconDownload PDF (96.1 KB)
pp. 106-119

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as a first generation of native-born Buddhist teachers came of age in the United States, the idea that a typically American Buddhism had been born entered into wide currency. The idea was part of a broader debate that touched on a number of issues. ...

read more

7. Buddhism in Canada

pdf iconDownload PDF (112.5 KB)
pp. 120-138

Buddhism in Canada has had an interesting and distinguished history since the late nineteenth century, though it has only emerged as a major religious force in the mid-1960s. Its vihāras, pagodas, and organizations have become a visible part of Canada’s urban landscape. ...

read more

8. The Development of Buddhism in Australia and New Zealand

pdf iconDownload PDF (100.1 KB)
pp. 139-151

Buddhism has recently undergone substantial growth in both Australia and New Zealand, as it has in many Western countries. The geographical and cultural proximity of these two countries often causes similarities between them to be assumed; however, this paper examines the development of Buddhism in each separately, ...

read more

9. Buddhism in South Africa

pdf iconDownload PDF (83.4 KB)
pp. 152-162

Buddhism in South Africa is largely a late twentieth-century phenomenon. Nevertheless, it has not only a history but also a prehistory of sorts. Whether it will have a future will depend largely on its ability to relate to indigenous African thought.1 The story of South African Buddhism goes back to 1686. ...

read more

10. Buddhism in Brazil and Its Impact on the Larger Brazilian Society

pdf iconDownload PDF (97.4 KB)
pp. 163-176

On 18 February 2001, the Folha da São Paulo, one of Brazil’s most widely read newspapers, reported that 1,000,000 Brazilians were Buddhists.1 In March 1999, the weekly magazine Isto é had referred to the same number.2 In June 1988, however, the magazine Elle claimed that only about 500,000 Brazilians could be considered Buddhists.3 ...

read more

11. Buddha in the Promised Land: Outlines of the Buddhist Settlement in Israel

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.8 KB)
pp. 177-188

In recent studies of Buddhist traditions outside Asia, scholars have focused primarily upon Europe,North America, and Australia, areas which Stephen Batchelor includes in his definition of Western culture.1 Consequently, Buddhist expansion is seen as concerning mainly Western and secularized Christian societies. ...

Part III: Change: Adaptations and Innovations

read more

12. Camp Dharma: Japanese-American Buddhist Identity and the Internment Experience of World War II

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.7 KB)
pp. 191-200

Buddhist priests, classified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the most potentially dangerous of Japanese aliens, were among the first people arrested by government officials beginning in December 1941, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.2 ...

read more

13. The Translating Temple: Diasporic Buddhism in Florida

pdf iconDownload PDF (107.8 KB)
pp. 201-217

Wat Mongkolratanaram, a Buddhist temple in Florida, stands a few miles to the east of Tampa’s most famous immigrant quarter, Ybor City, on the south bank of the Palm River, an estuary of Tampa Bay. The Palm River neighborhood, an old area formerly populated by farmers and fishers, ...

read more

14. Repackaging Zen for the West

pdf iconDownload PDF (88.9 KB)
pp. 218-229

The embracing of Zen in certain sectors of North American and European societies occurs through an unlikely confluence of histories, ideas, and practices from two starkly different cultural complexes. Observing the routine of a traditional Japanese Zen monastery, especially a Rinzai one, with its strict uniformity, ...

read more

15. Scandals in Emerging Western Buddhism

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.8 KB)
pp. 230-242

In the spring of 1993, a group of twenty-two Western Dharma teachers from ten different countries in Europe and North America gathered at Dharamsala in north India for a conference with the Dalai Lama. The purpose of the meeting was, in the words of convener Lama Surya Das, ...

Part IV: Lifestyle: Being a Buddhist in Western Societies

read more

16. The Challenge of Community

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.0 KB)
pp. 245-254

Disciples of the Thai Forest Tradition master Venerable Ajahn Chah have been resident in the West for nearly twenty-five years.1 During this time, they have faced a variety of challenges. In the early years, most of these were cultural, that is, learning to adjust to the environment and culture of the West. ...

read more

17. Buddhist Nuns: Changes and Challenges

pdf iconDownload PDF (112.5 KB)
pp. 255-274

Many Buddhist temples and Dharma centers in the West are maintained primarily through the efforts of nuns. These nuns serve their temples and centers in a variety of capacities—as organizers, administrators, teachers, translators, accountants, counselors, secretaries, and housekeepers. ...

read more

18. Neither Monk nor Nun: Western Buddhists as Full-Time Practitioners

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.8 KB)
pp. 275-284

Buddhism has now come to Western lands, to Europe and North America, where it is undergoing changes and appears differently than in Asia. One striking difference, compared with the East, is the presence of Western laywomen as teachers in non-Buddhist venues. ...

read more

19. Virtues without Rules: Ethics in the Insight Meditation Movement

pdf iconDownload PDF (122.5 KB)
pp. 285-306

Observers have commented that for Buddhism to take firm hold in the West it needs to develop a well-articulated ethic. This chapter is a study of how Buddhist ethics is taught within one rapidly growing movement of Western Buddhism: what I will be calling the Insight Meditation movement. ...

Part V: Buddhism Facing New Challenges

read more

20. The Roar of the Lioness: Women’s Dharma in the West

pdf iconDownload PDF (97.4 KB)
pp. 309-323

There is perhaps no account which is more appropriately narrative than that of women, and the story of women in Western Buddhism is no exception. And a single article which advances an overview of women in Western Buddhism must be a narrative of limited scope. ...

read more

21. Engaged Buddhism: Agnosticism, Interdependence, Globalization

pdf iconDownload PDF (130.6 KB)
pp. 324-347

Over the past half-century, political activism and social service have emerged as salient features of the globalization of the Buddhist tradition. Along with the democratization implicit in the new roles that laymen and laywomen are playing in Buddhist institutions, ...

read more

22. The Encounter of Buddhism and Psychology

pdf iconDownload PDF (106.5 KB)
pp. 348-364

The field of Buddhism and psychology, by its very name, is irredeemably divided. For its first generation, it was a field of battle if it was a field at all. It has since become a field of study, a dialogue evolving in words and, importantly, in practices. ...

read more

23. A “Commodius Vicus of Recirculation”: Buddhism, Art, and Modernity

pdf iconDownload PDF (116.4 KB)
pp. 365-382

It is notoriously difficult to trace influences in art without falling into the trap of simplistic and mechanistic theorizing. In art, as in all forms of creative activity, influences interact and unfold in an unpredictable and complex manner, often over considerable periods of time. ...

Selected Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF (117.8 KB)
pp. 383-400

List of Contributors

pdf iconDownload PDF (56.1 KB)
pp. 401-406


pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 407-425

Production Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF (20.3 KB)
p. 439-439

E-ISBN-13: 9780520936584
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520234901

Page Count: 436
Publication Year: 2002