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Dixie Dharma

Inside a Buddhist Temple in the American South

Jeff Wilson

Publication Year: 2012

Buddhism in the United States is often viewed in connection with practitioners in the Northeast and on the West Coast, but in fact, it has been spreading and evolving throughout the United States since the mid-nineteenth century. In ###Dixie Dharma#, Jeff Wilson argues that region is crucial to understanding American Buddhism. Through the lens of a multidenominational Buddhist temple in Richmond, Virginia, Wilson explores how Buddhists are adapting to life in the conservative evangelical Christian culture of the South, and how traditional Southerners are adjusting to these newer members on the religious landscape.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments are often the final words that we write as we finish our books, but it is appropriate that they go at the front, because it is only through the assistance of others that our projects ever get set in motion. In my case, I am immeasurably indebted to the community at the...

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Introduction: Encounters at a Multidenominational Temple in the South

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pp. 1-16

“Heart Sutraaaaaa.” The sound of our chanting dies away as we finish reciting a famous Buddhist text, our fading voices an expression of the emptiness that the sutra celebrates. Martin, a white-haired gentleman with an equally white mustache and a look of calm concentration, strikes the dark...

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1. Bringing a Regional Perspective to American Buddhism

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pp. 17-46

Before proceeding to a discussion of Buddhism in the South—primarily taken up in the later chapters of this book—it is necessary to lay the groundwork for a regional approach to the subject of American Buddhism. Fortunately, there is a long and fruitful history of regional analysis in the...

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2. The Gift of Light: Buddhist Circuit Riders and New Religious Developments in Richmond, Virginia

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pp. 47-88

Many of the houses along Grove Avenue fly flags—the star-spangled banner, the Virginia state flag, banners with animals or floral designs, as well as the occasional Confederate battle flag. So the five-colored flag sometimes flown outside Ekoji Buddhist Sangha of Richmond does not seem to...

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3. The Buddhist Confederacy: Differentiation and Identity in Buddhist Spaces

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pp. 89-119

Ekoji Buddhist Sangha of Richmond is the only temple in the country that shelters five distinct groups practicing in distinct lineages. These diverse groups have found that, in the decidedly non-Buddhist environment of Richmond, the shared label of “Buddhist” is fundamentally more important...

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4. There’s No Such Thing as “Not My Buddhism”: Hybridity, Boundary-Crossing, and the Practice of Pluralistic Buddhism

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pp. 120-152

It is a bright, chilly January afternoon outside, but it is warm inside at Ekoji as I sit on the floor enjoying a casual after-service discussion with the Pure Land group. Their plan was to study a booklet about bodhisattvas, but as we have spent the time sipping tea and passing a plastic baggie full of...

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5. Buddhism with a Southern Accent: American Buddhists in a Southern Culture

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pp. 153-184

In chapter 1, I laid out a basic approach to studying regionalism in American Buddhism. Throughout this book, I have referred to the fact that Ekoji Buddhist Sangha of Richmond is located in the South, and that this has an effect on the temple. Now in this chapter I turn to the question of regional...

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6. The Reality of Our Collective Karma: Slave Trade Meditation Vigil as Southern Buddhist Ritual

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pp. 185-217

Richmond remembers. It is a city of memory and pride, where the useful past is a treasure trove from which can be drawn resources for politics, religion, art, identity, and, especially, money-making. From Hollywood Cemetery to the Arthur Ashe Memorial, its landscape has been a site of memory...

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Conclusion: Buddhas on the Backstretch

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pp. 218-232

It is as simple as that: people in different parts of America experience Buddhism through lenses and circumstances supplied by the surrounding culture, and Buddhism impacts how those people navigate their regional culture. At root, that is this book’s primary argument. Furthermore, Buddhism...

Appendix: Statistical Data and Questionnaire

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pp. 233-236

Notes

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pp. 237-260

Bibliography

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pp. 261-276

Index

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pp. 277-281


E-ISBN-13: 9781469601816
E-ISBN-10: 1469601818
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807835456
Print-ISBN-10: 0807835455

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2012