Natal and convert practices of Buddhism and Christianity raise questions of authenticity. As second and third generations of children of American converts to Buddhism enter the practice, what constitutes natal Buddhism becomes complexified, and natal immigrants from places like Taiwan, as Carolyn Chen writes, often move away from Buddhism as a way of becoming Americanized. This paper examines these complexities using Mary Louise Pratt's concept of the "contact zone," in which cultures meet, and often collide, generating new forms, though in asymmetrical power relations. I, then, turn to mindfulness as a cultural practice in America. Mindfulness has become an industry in the United States. I argue that mindfulness may be an example of orientalist appropriation, and turn to the Buddha's teaching on mindfulness and a Franciscan Christian mode of mindfulness in contemplation. Recognizing the inevitable borrowing that occurs when cultures meet, this paper raises more questions than it gives answers, thinking through the effects on natal practitioners of convert borrowing and also through forms of mindfulness and what they offer convert practitioners in the multiple ways that modern American choose to belong, from dual belonging to borrowing.


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pp. 33-58
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