An Identifiably American Buddhism Is Emerging
07-24-2018    The Christian Science Monitor
<P align=center><SPAN lang=EN-US><STRONG><BR>Adherents find calm and peace in meditation</STRONG></SPAN></P><SPAN lang=EN-US>

<P><BR><BR><SPAN lang=EN-US>By Jane Lampman (Staff writer), The Christian Science Monitor, September 14, 2006</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Cambridge</SPAN></st1:City><SPAN lang=EN-US>, <st1:State w:st="on">Massachusetts</st1:State>, <st1:country-region w:st="on">USA</st1:country-region> -- Buddhism arrived in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">United States</st1:place></st1:country-region> in the 1800s. Buddhism is growing apace in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">United States</st1:place></st1:country-region>, and an identifiably American Buddhism is emerging. Teaching centers and sanghas (communities of people who practice together) are spreading here as American-born leaders reframe ancient principles in contemporary Western terms.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Though the religion born in <st1:country-region w:st="on">India</st1:country-region> has been in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">US</st1:place></st1:country-region> since the 19th century, the number of adherents rose by 170 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to the American Religious Identity Survey. An ARIS estimate puts the total in 2004 at 1.5 million, while others have estimated twice that. "The 1.5 million is a low reasonable number," says Richard Seager, author of "Buddhism in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">America</st1:place></st1:country-region>."</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>That makes Buddhism the country's fourth-largest religion, after Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Immigrants from Asia probably account for two-thirds of the total, and converts about one-third, says Dr. Seager, a professor of religious studies at <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Hamilton</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">College</st1:PlaceType>, in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Clinton</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">N.Y.</st1:State></st1:place></SPAN></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>What's so valuable to Jane Moss, who's been practicing 15 years, is learning how "to be in the present moment."</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Buddha means "awakened" in Sanskrit, a language of ancient <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">India</st1:place></st1:country-region>, where Siddhartha Gautama founded the faith and an Eightfold Path some 2,500 years ago.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>One doesn't have to subscribe to a catechism or creed, or be a vegetarian. Nor do people have to give up their religion. That's why some Americans speak of being Jewish Buddhists, for instance.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Yet others are going more fully into Buddhist study, particularly as the writings and training by American-born teachers increase its accessibility.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>A healthy American Buddhism with its own characteristics is emerging. It is less doctrinal and ritualistic than in the East and more meditation oriented, less hierarchical and more democratic and egalitarian. It is more lay-oriented than monastic, and more socially and ecologically engaged.</SPAN></SPAN></P>
Editor: Wang Xinyu
   
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