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Temple And Society In The New World: Theravada Buddhism And Social Order In North America

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the question of social order as it relates to Theravada Buddhists in North America. It looks at the growth of Theravada Buddhism in North America as the development of new forms of social order. After addressing theoretical questions on religion and social order, the chapter discusses the type of normative structure that Theravada Buddhism provides to its adherents. The chapter then looks briefly at the history of this religious presence in American life. Next, it describes the forms of the Theravada social order in North America. The chapter considers common characteristics of interactions among adherents, of group solidarity, and of group relations to others in American society. Finally, the chapter looks at how variations among the major Asian immigrant Theravada groups have resulted from their differing histories. It concentrates on the three largest immigrant Theravada groups: Thai, Lao, and Cambodians.

Keywords: Asian immigrant; North America; religious presence; social order; Theravada Buddhism



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