Buddhism is a religion from the East that has spread to many different countries all over the world. It has spread to the West, and has had a great influence and impact, especially in America. However, the Buddhism that is practiced in the United States is not exactly the same as the one that is practiced in Asian countries. If Buddhism differs between the different traditions of the Asian countries themselves, it is obvious that it will differ greatly in America as well. However, even though there are obvious differences, it is important to maintain the core values and fundamental principles the same. This research explores how the three different types of Buddhist practitioners have adopted Buddhism in America, and it describes some differences
Centuries after the death of the Buddha, his teachings spread throughout Asia and dominated (2). Around 1500, Western powers began entering the Buddhist controlled areas of Asia and created colonies, which persisted into the middle of...
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Religions have been an ever-growing, ever-changing part of peoples lives throughout the history of the world. One of the most dynamic of these religions is the practice of Buddhism. Today nearly 450 million people are influenced by its traditions worldwide. It is this massive influence that makes understanding Buddhism so crucial in today’s world. This paper aims to express its relatively simple history and also how it has evolved today as an influential religion not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Also included will be a comparison and contrast of Buddhism’s past and present, where a deeper insight will be given into the problem of how diluted by other influences Buddhism has become in its great expansion. The conclusion will consist of an insight as to why Buddhism is so difficult to practice in this day and age.
Young, S. (2000). Women changing Tibet, activism changing women. In E.B. Findly (Ed.), Women’s Buddhism, Buddhism’s women (pp. 229-242). Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publication.
Since the late 1300’s essentially the same reincarnated figure has been controlling, teaching, and leading the Tibetan Buddhism religion and government (Gale). The Dalai Lama is thought to be the reincarnated spiritual and political icon presiding over the land of Tibet for over 14 lifetimes. His Holiness’ obligation to the Buddhist people and birthright is described as, “a teacher whose wisdom is as deep as the ocean” (Ganeri 28). For centuries the Dalai Lama has been one of the world’s most influential leaders and teachers, passing along his wisdoms to disciples all over the globe.
The Accidental Buddhist: Mindfulness, Enlightenment, and Sitting Still by Dinty M. Moore is a personal memoir about Moore’s journey into the world of American Buddhism. Although Moore is an Irish-American who lives in central Pennsylvania, was raised in a Catholic family, and attended Catholic school, he decided at a young age that God had let him down, he gave up religion. However, later on in his adult life he came across the book Being Peace by Thich Naht Hanh, and desired to know what the “Buddhists had discovered” and what he was “missing” (19). Moore thought that the most effective way of finding out how to incorporate Buddhism into his own life would be to find out how other Americans are accomplishing this; He wanted to uncover how this old Asian-practice fits into modern American culture, essentially, what is American Buddhism? To answer this question, Moore visited Monasteries, read books, attended meditation sessions, and talked to multiple revered monks. By the end of his exploration Moore cannot define exactly what American Buddhism is, but he suggests that there is a place for Buddhism in American culture, and as long as the basic practices and teachings are followed, Buddhism can be altered in many ways to fit into all types of modern American lives.
Tibet, with its isolated, harsh geographical location and history of political and social remoteness would seem an unlikely place to provide a “cradle for creative art” (Bailey 22). Yet it is in this desolate section of the world that one of the most intriguing artistic cultures has been cultivating over hundreds of centuries. One facet of what makes Tibetan art so unique and interesting is its interdependency on its religious beliefs.
Since the communist takeover in 1951, China has directed tremendous amounts of policy towards improving Tibet’s economy, and assimilating the region into the Chinese Han culture. China has attempted to move Tibet from a primitive self-sufficient society, to a modern, agricultural, and industrial Chinese society. Before the communists entered the region, Tibet was a deeply religious society of mainly nomads where animal husbandry and agriculture formed the basis of the economy. The Buddhist faith was the foundation of society, which preached the concept of not concerning one’s self with material wealth. A constant search for inner peace, and spiritual fulfillment were the aspirations of most Tibetans in society, and all Tibetans acknowledged the Dalai Lama as the Religious and Political leader. There was no opposition towards his authority, and the peaceful society that he led. This all changed when the Chinese communists entered in 1951. The communist takeover has sent Tibet into a crash course of modernization. Development projects throughout the whole region have been instituted in order to improve economic indicators such as GDP and average household wealth. China utilized Tibet’s natural resources in order to gain wealth and help the Tibetan economy modernize. Today, Tibet is a far different place from fifty years ago. The capital of Lhasa, once a deeply religious society home to the Dalai Lama, has become an increasingly modern Chinese society, where Tibetans own very little productive property, and the traditional Tibetan values by which it was ruled have withered away. The result of Chinese modernization of Tibet has helped out the macro economy considerably, but the distribution of this wealth has ...
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1 Geoff Childs Tibetan Diary From Birth to Death and Beyond in a Himalayan Valley of Nepal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004) 41.
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