I don't think I posted info on these books below, but in case I did, sorry for the duplication. I like the idea that this "Reading Corner" is a comprehensive resource for people who come to OBC Connect, so when I bump into stuff, i will keep sharing. I found reading very helpful in my path - and I have received private messages from people who are thankful for all these resources, articles and books and links. Also, beyond those that are official members of this forum, many people are coming as unregistered visitors (some no doubt registered users who don't sign in, but others likely just guests who find the site), so you never know how and when any of this info will be helpful.
I have pointed out - i haven't read all these books - read some - skimmed some - and some, I haven't looked at it at all. But I share all these words and thoughts under the assumption that, in the spirit of this forum and open communication, it is entirely up to you what you read, how you interpret all the various points of view and experiences, what makes sense to you and what is nonsense, what seems helpful and what seems irrelevant. Up to you. We do not have to all agree, we can disagree. No more "one true story." No more "masters" telling you what you can think and feel and shunning you if you stray from their path. No more storybook Zen, at least not here.(JB)
One Note: In the final book I noted here - Buddhism in the Modern World - Zen scholar Steven Heine has an essay on the Shushogi and Modern Soto Zen - i have not read it - but it could be of interest:
"7. "Abbreviation or Aberration: The Role of the 'Shushogi' in Modern Soto Zen Buddhism" by Steven Heine"
Westward Dharma: Buddhism beyond Asia Hardcover
by Charles S. Prebish (Editor) , Martin Baumann (Editor)
The first authoritative volume on the totality of Buddhism in the West, Westward Dharma establishes a comparative and theoretical perspective for considering the amazing variety of Buddhist traditions, schools, centers, and teachers that have developed outside of Asia. Leading scholars from North America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia explore the plurality and heterogeneity of traditions and practices that are characteristic of Buddhism in the West.
This recent, dramatic growth in Western Buddhism is accompanied by an expansion of topics and issues of Buddhist concern. The contributors to this volume treat such topics as the broadening spirit of egalitarianism; the increasing emphasis on the psychological, as opposed to the purely religious, nature of practice; scandals within Buddhist movements; the erosion of the distinction between professional and lay Buddhists; Buddhist settlement in Israel; the history of Buddhism in internment camps; repackaging Zen for the West; and women's dharma in the West. The interconnections of historical and theoretical approaches in the volume make it a rich, multi-layered resource.
"Like seeds on the wind, Buddhist teachings continue to reach new lands. This outstanding book brings to light, in rich detail, the current flowering of Buddhism in the West. Long a world religion, Buddhism is now a global one." - Kenneth Kraft, author of The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism "Westward Dharma deserves a place on the growing bookshelf of contemporary Buddhist studies. Prebish and Baumann broaden our horizons from North America to the wider Western world, exploring key aspects of Buddhism's most recent geographical and cultural expansion." - Paul David Numrich, coauthor of Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America.
From the Inside Flap
"Like seeds on the wind, Buddhist teachings continue to reach new lands. This outstanding book brings to light, in rich detail, the current flowering of Buddhism in the West. Long a world religion, Buddhism is now a global one."--Kenneth Kraft, author of The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism
"Westward Dharma deserves a place on the growing bookshelf of contemporary Buddhist studies. Prebish and Baumann broaden our horizons from North America to the wider Western world, exploring key aspects of Buddhism's most recent geographical and cultural expansion."--Paul David Numrich, coauthor of Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America.
From the Back Cover
"Like seeds on the wind, Buddhist teachings continue to reach new lands. This outstanding book brings to light, in rich detail, the current flowering of Buddhism in the West. Long a world religion, Buddhism is now a global one."-Kenneth Kraft, author of The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism "Westward Dharma deserves a place on the growing bookshelf of contemporary Buddhist studies. Prebish and Baumann broaden our horizons from North America to the wider Western world, exploring key aspects of Buddhism's most recent geographical and cultural expansion."-Paul David Numrich, coauthor of Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America.
Review: Solid, scholarly overview - By John L Murphyon March 4, 2010
Buddhism beyond Asia's explored by 22 scholars in this 2002 collection. It focuses on the transformation, since the later 19c, of the Buddha's teachings into Western, and cross-cultural, and analytical transformations that try to retrieve a purer, primitive, or truer original teaching. Thomas Tweed sums up these evolving trends: "If modernist Buddhists have de-mythologized and rationalized traditional Buddhism one may say that post-modernist Buddhist practitioners secularize and psychologize modernist Buddhism." (60)
Tweed distinguishes a "migrant religion trajectory" from a "missionary-driven transmission," in turn separate from a "demand-driven transmission" as the three methods of current transfer. (62-3) He notes how the 'foreign' religion might have deliberately been fetched from abroad by sympathizers and initial converts. In the case of Buddhism, texts in Asian languages were transmitted and published, Buddhist ideas and practices were adopted, and Asian teachers were invited to lecture." (52) Westerners rely on Eastern exchange, as transport, globalization, and immigration thicken the ties rather than allow the crude models of Orientalist domination or imperial manifestation to control the emergence of a dharma-practice adapted not only to secular First World settings, but contemporary capitalist and countercultural markets all over Asia, Brazil, Oceania, and North America.
Tweed pioneered efforts to try to define who in this milieu's actually Buddhist. Besides converts, "night-stand" sympathizers who try out practices often in privacy and those who mix and match Buddhist with other religious or therapeutic or esoteric approaches complicate easy tallying. It seems that in Europe, most Buddhists still are of Asian origin, but the authors agree that Westerners continue to make it, as in France, one of the West's fastest-growing denominations. B. Alan Wallace, Martin Baumann, and Charles S. Prebish all discuss the ramifications of this acceleration, as Tibetan Buddhism and vipassana "insight" meditation widen the appeal beyond the slightly earlier arrival of Zen midway through last century.
For section two, the territory of Western Buddhism emerges. Baumann looks at Europe, while Richard Hughes Seager examines in America the three strands Tweed separates. Bruce Matthews does the same for Canada, Michelle Spuler for Australia and New Zealand, Michel Clasquin for South Africa, and Frank Usarski for Brazil. In "Buddhism in the Promised Land," Lionel Obadia looks at the tiny Israeli community, comfortable in its Jewish identity while taking on the dharma. A Zen master, Soen Nakagawa, founded an early center with the pun of "Ki"="Basis" and "Butsu"="Buddha" as similar to the Hebrew for "Kibbutz." (181) He also translated poetry based on the linguistic happenstance between "mut"="die" and "Mu"="emptiness" from Japanese. (182) It makes an intriguing counterpart to Rodger Kamenetz' Tibetan-Jewish dialogues documented in "The Jew in the Lotus" and "Stalking Elijah" (see my reviews) during the 1990s.
Section three surveys how changes happen, more topical and less geographical. Duncan Ryukan Williams studies Buddhism in the Japanese-American internment camps during WWII; Douglas M. Padgett reports from a temple in suburban Tampa, Florida; David L. McMahan takes up the repackaging of Zen for Westerners into its current ubiquitous use as a name-brand conjurer of sold serenity, hip detachment, and instant well-being; Sandra Bell briefly retells the sadly familiar stories of scandal at the San Francisco Zen Center and at Chogyam Trungpa's Vajradhatu/ Shambhala Training-- these episodes have been covered elsewhere in more detail as the subject deserves, but her summary may serve as an introduction for the newcomer. It seemed more than these two prominent examples might have broadened the material beyond these two oft-told tales.
Lifestyle in section four gives testimony from those who practice. Ajahn Tiradhammo looks at how the Thai Forest Tradition faces the task of dealing with the Asian model of a strong leader and obedient followers when Westerners and Western influences broaden the traditional expectations in a monastic discipline. Karma Lekshe Tsomo tells an intriguing predicament: unlike Christian monastics, Buddhist monks and especially nuns must support themselves while in their pledged status. This leads to many who study in Asia finding themselves unable to continue as nuns, and they must go to the West to work to afford to go back to an Asian monastery for more training. Or, they leave and return to the West, often "disrobing" and teaching as lay instructors. Out of such shifts, Sylvia Wetzel sees a new in-between type of full-time, often necessarily professional, Buddhist practitioner who is "neither monk nor nun." Gil Fronsdal, a leader in the expansion of the vipassana movement into ethically interdependent awareness and therapeutic venues, looks at the tension when people try to expound "virtues without rules" in their often New Age-affiliated interpretations and modifications of Buddhist dharma into a self-help, transformative type of holistic healing.
The final section shows similar widening of styles. Judith Simmer-Brown examines "women's dharma in the West;" Christopher S. Queen in an excellent article takes on the "interbeing" promoted by Thich Nhat Hanh and the "universal responsibility" advocated by the Dalai Lama. Queen shows how "engaged" Buddhism as Bernard Glassman's Zen Peacekeeper Order, Nhat Hanh's "Order of Interbeing," methodological agnosticism, and globalization align with Joanna Macy's popular concept of interdependence to create a Buddhism that demands social action. Franz Metcalf follows a similar path, showing how intertwined the dharma can be with psychoanalysis, yet how fundamentally difficult it may be for Buddhism to resist the pull of appropriation of the dharma-- as may have happened already with yoga, meditation, and arguably Zen in many Western adaptations or distortions-- into a more "transformative" but perhaps less faithfully Buddhist contribution to healing. Metcalf hopes that Buddhism can overcome the diminishing tendency by some Westerners to commodify it as "a form of religious psychotherapy." (360)
Ian Harris takes on art and modernity, musing how romanticism, modernism, and commodification alter what passes as Buddhist when entering the Western market. His example of a Tibetan artist raised as a dogmatic social-realist in Communist-occupied Lhasa, Gonkar Gyatso, and the artist's subsequent attempts to intergrate Buddhist themes into his "modern 'thangkas'" that led to his flight to Dharamsala, shows a cautionary tale about too reductive an approach taken by observers into whatever's authentically Buddhist. For, it's a subject perpetually open to the unexpected, as cultures merge and practitioners migrate. As these scholars here remind us, Buddhism can never stand still; its very nature is to undermine permanent or defined categories that resist change.
The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition by James Coleman
Publication Date: May 16, 2002 | ISBN-10: 0195152417 | ISBN-13: 978-0195152418
Today, many in western society find themselves seeking more satisfying spiritual lives. Faiths formerly seen as exotic have suddenly become attractive alternatives in our multicultural society. This is especially true of Buddhism, which is the focus of constant media attention, thanks in part to celebrity converts, major motion pictures, and the popularity of the Dalai Lama. Following this recent trend, James Coleman argues that a new and radically different form of this ancient faith is emerging.
Investigating the contemporary scene, Coleman finds that Western teachers have borrowed liberally from different Buddhist traditions that have had little interaction with each other in Asia, that men and women practice together as equals, and that the path of meditation and spiritual practice is offered to everyone, not just an elite cadre of monks. Drawing on interviews with noted teachers and lay practitioners, as well as a survey completed by members of seven North American Buddhist centers, Coleman depicts the colorful variety of new Buddhists today, from dilettantes to devoted students and the dedicated teachers who guide their spiritual progress. He also details the problems that have arisen ,especially with regard to gender roles, sex, and power.
Exploring the appeal of this exotic faith in postmodern society and questioning its future in a global consumer culture, The New Buddhism provides a thorough and fascinating guide to Western Buddhism today.
The newcomer to Buddhism is often confused at the variety of forms it takes, from spare and strict Zen to flamboyant Tibetan Buddhism. Sociologist James William Coleman's The New Buddhism does us all a favor by breaking down Buddhism as practiced in the West. He begins with a concise but inclusive history of Buddhism's many faces in Asia. A summary of Buddhism's transplant to the West and subsequent growth there brings us right up to present-day teachers and movements. He then combines his 15 years of personal experience with wide reading, personal interviews, and hundreds of questionnaires to show us who Western Buddhists are--where they come from, why they are attracted to Buddhism, and what they do in their practice. Coleman also focuses his magnifying lens on specific groups, noting the dynamics of the different organizations as well as the pressures that they have faced, from succession controversies to sex scandals. Anyone interested in Buddhism should pick up a few titles on the how-tos of meditation and the wherefores of Buddhist philosophy, and at the same time, they should pick up The New Buddhism for a clear picture of the contemporary reality behind the ancient teachings. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Coleman (sociology, California Polytechnic State Univ., San Luis Obispo) presents an insightful, informative, and contemporary survey of Buddhism in the West (meaning the United States and England). A practicing Buddhist for 15 years, he prepared for this work by reading numerous books on Buddhism, conducting structured interviews with Buddhist teachers and students, and surveying seven Buddhist centers in North America, which together represent the three major traditions, namely, Zen, Vipassana, and Tibetan. In each chapter, he deals with the similarities and differences of these three traditions as they find expression in the West. Chapters cover the Asian roots of the traditions, how Buddhism spread in the West, core beliefs and practices, gender issues, why Americans from other religious traditions are taking up Buddhist practice, and the future of Buddhism in the West. Coleman's deft handling of his material provides a feast of insightful information on how Buddhism is affecting many Americans and being adapted in the West. Two appendixes offer a list of Buddhist centers in the West and the survey used by Coleman to gather data. Highly recommended.DDavid Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino
"An important contribution to the growing literature on American Buddhism."--Peter N. Gregory, Tricycle
"A valuable contribution to our sociological understanding of Buddhism in the West and particularly in the United States. . . . essential reading for anyone with serious interest in the field. . . . With its intelligent method, approachable style, wealth of data, and educated insights, this book remains an indispensable resource for and available addition to the study of the rapidly expanding practice of American Buddhism."--Journal of Religion
About the Author-- James William Coleman is Professor of Sociology at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a specialization in the sociology of religion, he has been a practicing Buddhist for the last fifteen years.
Looking West: A Primer for American Buddhism - Kindle Edition by Charles Prebish
Publication Date: December 28, 2011
Buddhism has been present on American soil for nearly two centuries. During that time it has grown from a small population of almost exclusively Asian American immigrants to perhaps as many as six million followers today. These American Buddhists are a hybrid mix of virtually all American races and cultures. They are both rural and urban, come from all walks of life, and manifest an incredibly diverse spectrum of professions. What unites them is their common concern for following the teachings of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, aimed at eliminating human suffering and manifesting compassion for all beings. This little primer highlights the vast variety of Buddhist traditions in America, focusing on virtually all of the communities in the Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions. It describes the Asian Buddhist masters who brought Buddhism to America, as well as their successors and the new generation of Western Buddhist teachers who they trained and empowered. It explains the various practices these communities employ, both meditational and non-meditational. In addition, it describes the communities that have grown up in American cities and the rural countrysides. It offers a clear typology for examining the American Buddhist tradition which includes ethnicity, practice, democratization, social engagement, and adaptation. It describes how we determine just who is a Buddhist in America and how Buddhists present on American soil can work together respectfully while maintaining sometimes differing sectarian affiliations. Finally, it takes a look into the future of the coming century, imagining how American Buddhism will further develop in the coming years.
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.
Buddhism in the Modern World: Adaptations of an Ancient Tradition Paperback
by Steven Heine (Editor) , Charles S. Prebish (Editor)
The history of Buddhism has been characterized by an ongoing tension between attempts to preserve traditional ideals and modes of practice and the need to adapt to changing cultural conditions. Many developments in Buddhist history, such as the infusion of esoteric rituals, the rise of devotionalism and lay movements, and the assimilation of warrior practices, reflect the impact of widespread social changes on traditional religious structures. At the same time, Buddhism has been able to maintain its doctrinal purity to a remarkable degree. This volume explores how traditional Buddhist communities have responded to the challenges of modernity, such as science and technology, colonialism, and globalization. Editors Steven Heine and Charles S. Prebish have commissioned ten essays by leading scholars, each examining a particular traditional Buddhist school in its cultural context. The essays consider how the encounter with modernity has impacted the disciplinary, textual, ritual, devotional, practical, and socio-political traditions of Buddhist thought throughout Asia. Taken together, these essays reveal the diversity and vitality of contemporary Buddhism and offer a wide-ranging look at the way Buddhism interacts with the modern world.
Review: A Grab-Bag of Good Studies on Buddhism's Long Twentieth Century - By Crazy Fox on July 20, 2006
First things first, this is a highly interesting collection of articles on an important subject, giving relatively rare and important coverage to, well, as the rather straightforwardly generic title indicates, Buddhism in the modern world. These articles are all of solid scholarly caliber, though they vary somewhat in approachability, attitude, basic presuppositions, and overall quality--if you think of this book as something more like an academic journal than an anthology, the uneven nature of the articles shouldn't distract you too much. Now the geographic coverage is tilted towards East Asia just a bit; this is my primary interest so I'm okay with such a tilt, but anyone more interested in Southeast Asia might feel a tad short-changed...and not having an article on Buddhism in Vietnam is a real lacunae to be regretted. And of course, as with many such collections, a few of the articles seem like they were only superficially modified so as to adapt them to the theme of the book. Somehow this always strikes me as a bit strained and slapdash, but editors have to fill out a book somehow. So it goes in this imperfect world. Still, anyone interested in religion's modern vicissitudes in general or in the Buddhist religion more specifically should find this book intriguing, useful, and quite thought-provoking.
So what articles are included in this book, anyway?
1. "Aniconism Versus Iconism in Thai Buddhism" by Donald K. Swearer.
2. "The Modernization of Sinhalese Buddhism as Reflected in the Dambulla Cave Temples" by Nathan Katz.
3. "Varying the Vinaya: Creative Responses to Modernity" by Charles S. Prebish.
4. "Master Hongyi Looks Back: A Modern Man Becomes a Monk in Twentieth-Century China" by Raoul Birnbaum.
5. "Transitions in the Practice and Defense of Chinese Pure Land Buddhism" by Charles B. Jones.
6. "Won Buddhism: The Historical Context of Sot'aesan's Reformation of Buddhism for the Modern World" by Bongkil Chung.
7. "Abbreviation or Aberration: The Role of the 'Shushogi' in Modern Soto Zen Buddhism" by Steven Heine.
8. "'By Imperial Edict and Shogunal Decree': Politics and the Issue of the Ordination Platform in Modern Lay Nichiren Buddhism" by Jacqueline I. Stone.
9. "The Making of the Western Lama" by Daniel Cozort.
10. "'Liberate the Mahabodhi Temple!': Socially Engaged Buddhism, Dalit-Style" by Tara N. Doyle.