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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores issues of diasporic Buddhist movement and cultural adaptation, as well as how individuals affiliate with Buddhist denominations in diverse settings worldwide. One of the enduring features of religion worldwide is mobility. Ideas, concepts, practices, prohibitions, and cosmologies circulate beyond cultural and political boundaries in ways ranging from intentional to spontaneous. The transregional and multicultural dimensions of Buddhism have been central to its history, institutional growth, and conceptual development, yet we also see specific ethnic versions of Buddhist practice shaped by very local concerns. Using the term “diaspora” for coerced as well as voluntary relocations of Buddhist traditions and practitioners helps track issues of accommodation, hybridity, discourse, and experimentation as new sociocultural contexts shape existing practices and patterns. The discussion also investigates how individuals affiliating with Buddhist traditions, whether as a form of heritage or as new converts, experience “taking refuge” in the Three Jewels in culturally conditioned ways.

Keywords: Three Jewels, convert, diasporic Buddhism, transregional, Buddhist denominations

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