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The Faces of Buddhism in America [Paperback]

Charles S. Prebish , Kenneth K. Tanaka
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 22, 1998 0520213017 978-0520213012 0
Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in the United States, with adherents estimated in the several millions. But what exactly defines a "Buddhist"? This has been a much-debated question in recent years, particularly in regard to the religion's bifurcation into two camps: the so-called "imported" or ethnic Buddhism of Asian immigrants and the "convert" Buddhism of a mostly middle-class, liberal, intellectual elite. In this timely collection Charles S. Prebish and Kenneth K. Tanaka bring together some of the leading voices in Buddhist studies to examine the debates surrounding contemporary Buddhism's many faces.

The contributors investigate newly Americanized Asian traditions such as Tibetan, Zen, Nichiren, Jodo Shinshu, and Theravada Buddhism and the changes they undergo to meet the expectations of a Western culture desperate for spiritual guidance. Race, feminism, homosexuality, psychology, environmentalism, and notions of authority are some of the issues confronting Buddhism for the first time in its three-thousand-year history and are powerfully addressed here.

In recent years American Buddhism has been featured as a major story on ABC television news, National Public Radio, and in other national media. A strong new Buddhist journalism is emerging in the United States, and American Buddhism has made its way onto the Internet. The faces of Buddhism in America are diverse, active, and growing, and this book will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding this vital religious movement.

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Buddhist meditator attempts to create distance with his or her thoughts in order to gain perspective on them, to see what causes them and how they develop. Charles Prebish and Kenneth Tanaka have brought together 19 scholars and practitioners of Buddhism to gain some perspective on the origin and development of Buddhism itself--how it has taken root and grown in American soil. Much more than just the manifestation of a few college-educated whites sitting on cushions, American Buddhism is a panorama of diverse practices, ethnicities, and beliefs. Essays such as "Tibetan Buddhism in America" and "Responding to the Cries of the World" explore movements of Buddhism in America from the inside and the issues arising out of the Americanization of Buddhism, such as feminism, psychotherapy, and social engagement. One article underscores the importance of Paul Carus around the turn of the century, while another traces the growth of Insight Meditation through popular teachers such as Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. It's great to read a book that gets you deep into a piece of Buddhism, and it's also nice to see that each piece fits together in a bigger picture. --Brian Bruya

From Library Journal

This excellent collection of essays touching on all of the diverse manifestations of Buddhism in contemporary America is especially useful in covering traditions that receive less attention elsewhere.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (December 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520213017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520213012
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Prebish came to Utah State University in January 2007 following more than thirty-five years on the faculty of the Pennsylvania State University. During his tenure at Utah State University, he was the first holder of the Charles Redd Endowed Chair in Religious Studies and served as Director of the Religious Studies Program. During his career, Dr. Prebish published more than twenty books and nearly one hundred scholarly articles and chapters. His books Buddhist Monastic Discipline (1975) and Luminous Passage: The Practice and Study of Buddhism in America (1999) are considered classic volumes in Buddhist Studies. Dr. Prebish remains the leading pioneer in the establishment of the study of Western Buddhism as a sub-discipline in Buddhist Studies. In 1993 he held the Visiting Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary, and in 1997 was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation National Humanities Fellowship for research at the University of Toronto. Dr. Prebish has been an officer in the International Association of Buddhist Studies, and was co-founder of the Buddhism Section of the American Academy of Religion. In 1994, he co-founded the Journal of Buddhist Ethics, which was the first online peer-reviewed journal in the field of Buddhist Studies; and in 1996, co-founded the Routledge "Critical Studies in Buddhism" series. He has also served as editor of the Journal of Global Buddhism and Critical Review of Books in Religion. In 2005, he was honored with a "festschrift" volume by his colleagues titled Buddhist Studies from India to America: Essays in Honor of Charles S. Prebish. Dr. Prebish retired from Utah State University on December 31, 2010, and was awarded emeritus status. He currently resides in State College, Pennsylvania.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful January 10, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It has many useful information.
I learn Buddhism from this book.
The book shows that there are many types of Buddhism. We can learn them all in one book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love it March 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Here is a book for anyone who wants an overview of the state of Buddhism, past, present and the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended December 22, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The collection of essays from all major schools of Buddhism are detailed very well. The reader will gain great insight and knowledge of the Buddhist world in the United States, and will genuinely appreciate the ongoing building of a uniquely Buddhist tradition here in America.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The book is offers an overview of the major type of Buddhism available in the US. It charts the conflicts, changes and continuity of American Buddhism looking at a major world religion meeting the late 20th century's dominate power.IMHO the best essays are "Who is a Buddhist" where the author explains "Elite, Ethnic and Evangelical" Buddhism. Rita Gross "Helping the Iron Lady Fly" she lays out her opinion on the state of current sexual morality and its intersection with the Mentor-Disciple relationship.I had hoped to read an essay from someone related to the Interracial Buddhist Council, with regard to Elite Buddhism relationship to ethnic minorities.
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