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Being Buddhist in a Christian World: Gender and Community in a Korean American Temple Paperback – January 30, 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


"The book as a whole does a superb job of describing what it means to be a Buddhist at a Korean ethnic temple in the United States as an immigrant. It surely captures the 'lived experience' of these practitioners by expanding on the meaning of Buddhism in their lives and the influence of gender and community on their Buddhism."―Korean Quarterly

"Suh has succeeded in crafting the story of a single Korean-American Buddhist temple (Sa Chal in Los Angeles) and drawing an engaging portrait of Buddhism lived 'on the ground' as a path to self-identity by Korean Americans..This is an important book for those interested in seeing the immediate social implications of religious practice for a community under pressure."―Multicultural Review

"This book provides excellent insight into the personal practices and beliefs of a group of parishioners in a Korean temple in North America with lucidity, compassion, and objectivity. Encompassing the disciplines of sociology with Buddhist studies and Asian American studies, Suh has written a book that will be of value and interest to a variety of scholars and readers."―The Journal of Religion --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"The first book on Korean American Buddhism, Being Buddhist in a Christian World is intelligently and knowledgeably conceived and smoothly executed. Its implications radiate out to other Korean Buddhist communities and individuals, as well as to Koreans who are Christians or Confucianists."―Paul R. Spickard, University of California, Santa Barbara

"Being Buddhist in a Christian World demonstrates how the story of a particular temple is linked to issues of gender, ethnicity, and identity―-all key themes in American religion, especially for immigrants to the United States. This will quickly become a standard work in several fields, including religious studies, Asian American studies, ethnic studies, American studies, and gender studies."―David K. Yoo, Claremont McKenna College --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Washington Pr (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295983795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295983790
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,795,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Phillip Cha on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A pioneering book on Korean American Buddhism. Sharon A. Suh, professor of theology and religious studies at Seattle University, focuses her study on Sa Chal--a Korean buddhist temple in Los Angeles--exploring how their religious practices and doctrines are used to bring about self-transformation. Along the way, the book touches upon issues pertaining to Korean immigration, gender relations, and interfaith dynamics between Korean minority Buddhists & Korean majority Christians. Hence this book would be relevant to anyone curious about the intersections between religion, race, gender, and culture.

As a former Korean Youth Pastor at a large Korean Baptist Church, I was particularly pained by how the disparity in power dynamics among the majority Korean Christians vs. the minority Korean Buddhists have posed serious social and economic challenges to the Korean buddhist communities in America. Despite these hurdles, the psychological and spiritual resources of Buddhism have enabled Korean American buddhists to transcend their predicament. As a Korean American myself, I was inspired to utilize some of their internal resources to help shape my own sense of identity (selfhood).

As a Christian (now a United Methodist), I hope to see more books like this so that Koreans--both Buddhists and Christians alike--can be more informed about how their religious/spiritual practices can help rather than hinder their community. May our common love for Kimchi (spicy, pickled radish) unite us together.
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