American Buddhism as a Way of Life

The united states appears changing into a Buddhist state. megastar converts, the recognition of the Dalai Lama, motifs in renowned video clips, and mala beads on the mall point out an expanding inculcation of Buddhism into the yankee cognizance, whether a comparatively small percent of the inhabitants really describe themselves as Buddhists. This publication appears past the trendier manifestations of Buddhism in the US to examine incredibly American Buddhist methods of life—ways of perceiving and figuring out. John Whalen-Bridge and Gary Storhoff have geared up this targeted assortment in response to the Buddhist thought of the 3 Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

The Buddha part discusses the 2 key academics who popularized Buddhism in the USA: Alan Watts and D. T. Suzuki and the actual different types of spirituality they proclaimed. The Dharma part bargains with how Buddhism can enlighten present public debates and a attention of our nationwide previous with explorations of bioethics, abortion, end-of-life judgements, and cognizance in past due capitalism. the ultimate part at the Sangha, or neighborhood of believers, discusses how Buddhist groups either formal and casual have affected American society with chapters on family members lifestyles, Nisei Buddhists, homosexual liberation, and Zen gardens.

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McMahan, The Making of Buddhist Modernism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). 14. Watts, Buddhism, 37. 15. Edward Conze, quoted in the principal editor’s introduction to Alan Watts, The Early Writings of Alan Watts: The British Years, 1931–1938, ed. John Snelling, with Mark Watts and Dennis T. Sibley (Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1987), 11. 16. Watts, Buddhism, 37. 17. Watts, In My Own Way, 84. 18. Monica Furlong, Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts (Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2001), 40.

Indd 23 11/15/09 8:32:52 AM 24 David L. 40 Systems of communication, in turn, have characteristic diseases. ”41 In human experience, the principal sort of error that arises in our interaction with the environment is something that Watts, following Gregory Bateson, called the double-bind. 42 Watts’s favorite cases involve the particular sort of paradox that arises when one is commanded to do something voluntarily. ” For this love to be genuine, it must be spontaneous and uncoerced. To act on the commandment, however, is to act unspontaneously.

246. 22. See the discussion of secrecy in religion in David L. Smith, “ ‘The Sphinx Must Solve Her Own Riddle’: Emerson, Secrecy, and the Self-Reflexive Method,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 71:4: 838–44. 23. Alan Watts, The Spirit of Zen: A Way of Life, Work, and Art in the Far East, 3rd edition (New York: Grove Press, 1960), 46. 24. Watts, Spirit of Zen, 123. 25. Alan Watts, The Meaning of Happiness: The Quest for Freedom of the Spirit in Modern Psychology and the Wisdom of the East (New York: Perennial Library, 1970), xix; and Watts, The Way of Zen, 201, are both echoes of this passage.

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