Buddhism has exploded into multiple arenas of American life over the past few decades. Books on mindfulness proliferate in airport bookstores, saffron-robed monks rally for environmental causes and Asian American immigrants build golden stupas and sprawling temples in America’s cities.
In Asia, Buddhism flourishes not only as a religion but also as an integral part of the social and political fabric. Likewise, Buddhists and non-Buddhist in the West invoke, interpret and spread the tradition widely during the course of their lives. The dynamics of Buddhism in Asia, its practice in the diaspora and its innovative developments within American public life make us mindful that Buddhism is not only an ancient tradition but also a living one.
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- CommentaryWhat’s So Wrong with Mindfulness?This article originally appeared in Tricycle. “I was stressed out, burned out, and divorced. And then I started doing yoga.” This is how many people I have spoken to in the course …Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Creativity and Innovation, Meditation and Prayer, Transnational
- ArticleMapping the New Landscape of Religion in Los FelizThis article originally appeared in BOOM: A Journal of California. Mt. Hollywood Congregational Church was in trouble. Its congregation had become too small to sustain the decaying Los Feliz building that had …Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Christians and Christianity, Creativity and Innovation, LGBT Issues, Place and Religion, Religious Affiliation, Southern California
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- CommentaryTraditional and Innovative – How Korean Buddhism Stays RelevantSouth Korea has become most widely known for its rapidly growing Christian population in the recent past, but nearly a quarter of the country’s population identify as Buddhist. (A majority of the …Topics: Asia, Buddhists and Buddhism, Creativity and Innovation, Korea, Transnational
- CommentaryReligious, Spiritual and “None of the Above”: How Did Mindfulness Get So Big?This post originally appeared on Religion Dispatches. The ever-growing popularity of mindfulness—from corporate boardrooms to inner-city schools—has finally made my academic interest a conversation-starter at dinner parties. “Ah, the Buddha was talking about cognitive …Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Creativity and Innovation, Meditation and Prayer
- CommentaryWhy Do Buddhists Give Money in Sri Lanka, But Not in the U.S.?During visit to observe a Los Angeles-based mindfulness group a few months ago, the teacher asked me to explain to her students the significant role that dana, one of the ten pāramitā …Topics: Asia, Buddhists and Buddhism, Community Organizing, Creativity and Innovation, Economic Inequality, Faith-Based Organizations, Religious Leadership
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- CommentaryThe Wild, Wild West of MindfulnessDiana Winston’s post-college spiritual journey was something of an anachronism. After she graduated from Brown in the late 1980s, Winston traveled to Southeast Asia, where she spent several years working with Theravada …Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Creativity and Innovation, Meditation and Prayer, Religious "Nones", Southern California
“While much of what has been written about the contemporary mindfulness movement concerns the so-called secularization of the Buddhist path of awakening, this phenomenon can also provide us with some specific insights about spirituality in America.”
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- Nalika GajaweeraResearch AssociateNalika Gajaweera is a cultural anthropologist specialized in Buddhism, transnationalism and ethics, with an area expertise in South Asia.
- Lori MeeksLori Meeks studies the social and cultural history of Buddhism in Japan, particularly related to the role of women.
- Nick StreetSenior WriterNick Street is a journalist covering religious change and innovation, Buddhism, Pentecostalism and LGBT issues.