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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Taking a historical context as a starting point, this chapter illuminates the historical relationship between Buddhism and economic engagements and shows how this relationship has played out in contemporary Asian and non-Asian contexts. With a focus on local practices and understandings of economic exchanges related to “Buddhism”—e.g. lay-monk exchange relations, monastic businesses, spiritual consumerism, and Buddhist branding—it illuminates the economic life of Buddhism and the diverse modalities of Buddhism and economic relations. Moreover, how Buddhists have positioned themselves in relation to a capitalistic market economy, both as a critique and as an engagement, is examined, as well as how marketing strategies have been utilized to secure the position of Buddhists in regional and global contexts. The intersection between Buddhism and the global market economy, the authors argue, reveals an important flashpoint through which one can gain a more complex understanding about contemporary formations of Buddhism, modernity, and globality.

Keywords: branding, Buddhism, global market economy, commodification, lay-monk exchange relations, monastic businesses, spiritual consumerism

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