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A Religious Minority Within An Ethnic Minority: Korean American Buddhists

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Chapter Summary

This chapter highlights some important features of ethnic Korean Buddhist temples in the United States. Some of the common features include: (1) the decentralized structure of Korean Buddhism and the temple as a ?private practice?; (2) a less congregational nature and low attendance rates; (3) limited programming due to small size and limited resources; (4) a strong double minority consciousness; and (5) exclusive focus on first-generation Korean speakers. Korean American Buddhists have a strong sense of minority consciousness - both with respect to American society, and even more so with respect to the predominantly Christian Korean immigrant community. With respect to American society, the Buddhists are keenly aware of the different orientation they have by virtue of their Korean heritage, language, culture, and race. They recognize the growing popularity of American Buddhism and are used to having the occasional white visitor at the temple services.

Keywords: Christian Korean immigrant community; ethnic Korean Buddhist temples; Korean American Buddhists; United States



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