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Buddhism Under Study

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Chapter Summary

The study of Buddhism in the United States includes research about the increasing number of Buddhists and the increasing influence of Buddhism on American culture. The study of Buddhism is divided into studies of non-Asian, primarily European, Americans and studies of Asian Americans. The history of Buddhism in America can be divided into three periods. During the years 1800 - 1880, intellectuals became seriously interested in knowing about Buddhism; the Transcendentalists led the way. In the second, early modern, period (1880 -1950), Buddhist institutions were created that were meant to attract converts among European Americans. The third period, 1950 to the present or late modernity, witnessed significant growth in Buddhist organizations, in Buddhist converts and sympathizers, and in Buddhist cultural influence. Martin Baumann has pointed out that scholars studying Buddhism in Asia have described a transformation from "traditionalist" to "modernist Buddhism".

Keywords: American culture; Asia; Buddhism; Buddhist institutions; Buddhist organizations; European Americans; Martin Baumann



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