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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter highlights some of the major events in the developments of US Buddhist traditions. It is divided into three main sections that examine the Orientalist construction of Buddhism, the adaptation of Buddhist practices in the United States, and the experiences of Asian immigrant Buddhists. The first section is an important reminder that the antecedent of US Buddhism traces back not to the 1897 World Parliament of Religions, but to an Orientalist conception of “Buddhism” promoted by Eugene Burnouf and other founding members of Western Buddhism. The second section briefly looks at the adaptation of Buddhist practices primarily in the following communities: Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Soka Gakkai International, and Theravada Buddhism-inspired Vipassana meditation. The last section explores the experiences and practices of Asian American Buddhists beginning with the Chinese contract workers of the nineteenth century to the immigration of new Asian immigrant Buddhists since the Immigration Act of 1965.

Keywords: Asian American Buddhist, Asian immigrant Buddhist, Zen, Orientalist, Soka Gakkait

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