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Afterword: Modernization, Globalization, And Buddhism

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Chapter Summary

A common sociological approach to the study of contemporary religion is to understand specific religions in relation to the process of modernization. The use of a theory of modernization framework would help to eliminate some of the obvious confusion in the literature on Buddhism. This chapter briefly describes the modernization process and its implications for religion. Then it uses these ideas to understand and integrate some of the findings about Buddhism in this book. Many people who grew up with Buddhism consider it superstitious or backward - pejorative terms implying that Buddhism is incompatible with modernity. Today there is a self-conscious process of modernizing Buddhism throughout Asia and in the United States. Because people live in more pluralistic societies and because of globalization, competition among religions has increased. In the case of Buddhism, the competition is mainly with Christianity both in the United States and in other countries.

Keywords: Asia; Buddhism; Christianity; globalization; modernization; sociological approach; United States



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