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The Ray' s tone was "ironic, light, saucy, self-assured In Illinois, Paul Carus wrote more books about Buddhism and set portions of Buddhist scripture to Western classical music. Goddard was a Christian missionary to China when he first came in contact with Buddhism. In , he spent a year living at a Zen monastery in Japan. In , he founded "The Followers of Buddha, an American Brotherhood", with the goal of applying the traditional monastic structure of Buddhism more strictly than Senzaki and Sokei-an. The group was largely unsuccessful: However, Goddard's efforts as an author and publisher bore considerable fruit.
In , he began publishing ZEN: In , he collaborated with D. Suzuki , on a translation of the Lankavatara Sutra. That same year, he published the first edition of A Buddhist Bible , an anthology of Buddhist scriptures focusing on those used in Chinese and Japanese Zen. Zen was introduced to the United States by Japanese priests who were sent to serve local immigrant groups.
A small group also came to study the American culture and way of life. In , Shaku was invited to stay in the United States by a wealthy American couple. He lived for nine months near San Francisco, where he established a small zendo in the Alexander and Ida Russell home and gave regular zazen lessons, making him the first Zen Buddhist priest to teach in North America.
Shaku was followed by Nyogen Senzaki , a young monk from Shaku's home temple in Japan. Senzaki briefly worked for the Russells and then as a hotel porter, manager and eventually, owner. In Senzaki rented a hall and gave an English talk on a paper by Shaku; his periodic talks at different locations became known as the "floating zendo". Senzaki established an itinerant sitting hall from San Francisco to Los Angeles in California, where he taught until his death in Sokatsu Shaku , one of Shaku's senior students, arrived in late , founding a Zen meditation center called Ryomokyo-kai.
One of his disciples, Shigetsu Sasaki , better known under his monastic name Sokei-an, came to New York to teach. By the late s, one of his most active supporters was Ruth Fuller Everett , an American socialite and the mother-in-law of Alan Watts. Shortly before Sokei-an's death in , he and Everett would wed, at which point she took the name Ruth Fuller Sasaki. Suzuki had a great literary impact. Through English language essays and books, such as Essays in Zen Buddhism , he became a visible expositor of Zen Buddhism and its unofficial ambassador to Western readers. In , Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki returned to the United States to take a visiting professorship at Columbia University , where his open lectures attracted many members of the literary, artistic, and cultural elite.
In the mids, writers associated with the Beat Generation took a serious interest in Zen,  including Gary Snyder , Jack Kerouac , Allen Ginsberg , and Kenneth Rexroth , which increased its visibility. Prior to that, Philip Whalen had interest as early as , and D. Suzuki began lecturing on Buddhism at Columbia in One of his students is the Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen. Omori Roshi founded Daihonzan Chozen-ji, the first Rinzai headquarters temple established outside Japan, in Honolulu; under his students Tenshin Tanouye Roshi and Dogen Hosokawa Roshi and their dharma heirs, several other training centers were established including Daiyuzenji in Chicago and Korinji in Wisconsin.
In Sherry Chayat , born in Brooklyn, became the first American woman to receive transmission in the Rinzai school of Buddhism. He established the Chicago Buddhist Temple in He returned to Chicago in , where he died in His low-key teaching style was described in the popular book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind , a compilation of his talks. By the mids he had formed a regular zazen group.
In , he and his supporters founded the Zen Center of Los Angeles. His successors and their network of centers became the White Plum Sangha. Sanbo Kyodan is a contemporary Japanese Zen lineage which had an impact in the West disproportionate to its size in Japan. Sanbo Kyodan's first American member was Philip Kapleau, who first traveled to Japan in as a court reporter for the war crimes trials.
In , he published a book, The Three Pillars of Zen , which recorded a set of talks by Yasutani outlining his approach to practice, along with transcripts of dokusan interviews and some additional texts. In , Kapleau had a falling-out with Yasutani over Kapleau's moves to Americanize his temple, after which it became independent of Sanbo Kyodan. One of Kapleau's early disciples was Toni Packer , who left Rochester in to found a nonsectarian meditation center, not specifically Buddhist or Zen.
Aitken became a dharma heir of Yamada's, authored more than ten books, and developed the Diamond Sangha into an international network with temples in the United States, Argentina, Germany, and Australia. In , he and his organization split with Sanbo Kyodan in response to reorganization of the latter following Yamada's death. Initially, his students were mostly ethnic Chinese, but he eventually attracted a range of followers. Sheng-yen first visited the United States in under the sponsorship of the Buddhist Association of the United States , an organization of Chinese American Buddhists.
Seung Sahn was a temple abbot in Seoul.
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Shortly after arriving in Providence, he attracted students and founded the Providence Zen Center. The Kwan Um School has more than Zen centers on six continents. Hye Am  — brought lineage Dharma to the United States. They are establishing temples and zen Korean, 'Seon' centers all around the United States. In his books and talks, Thich Nhat Hanh emphasizes mindfulness sati as the most important practice in daily life.
His monastic students live and practice at three centers in the United States: Perhaps the most widely visible Buddhist leader in the world is Tenzin Gyatso , the current Dalai Lama , who first visited the United States in Thurman , now an academic supporter of the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama's family has strong ties to America. His brother Thubten Norbu fled China after being asked to assassinate his brother. Since the death of the Takster Rinpoche it has served as a Kumbum of the West, with the current Arija Rinpochere serving as its leader. He was born in Tudevtei, Zavkhan, Mongolia and was one of the leading figures in declaration of independence of Mongolia. He was exiled from Mongolia, the reason remains unrevealed until today. Trungpa, part of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, moved to England in , founded a temple in Scotland , and then relocated to Barnet, Vermont , and then Boulder, Colorado by He established what he named Dharmadhatu meditation centers, eventually organized under a national umbrella group called Vajradhatu later to become Shambhala International.
He developed a series of secular techniques he called Shambhala Training. There are four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism: Of these, the greatest impact in the West was made by the Gelug, led by the Dalai Lama, and the Kagyu, specifically its Karma Kagyu branch, led by the Karmapa.
As of the early s, there were several significant strands of Kagyu practice in the United States: The Drikung Kagyu lineage also has an established presence in the United States. Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen arrived in the US in and planted the seeds for many Drikung centers across the country. In the 21st century, the Nyingma lineage is increasingly represented in the West by both Western and Tibetan teachers. He is also the spiritual director of the Namchak Foundation in Montana and a primary lineage holder of the Namchak lineage.
It is open to visitors who want to learn about community life in a Tibetan Buddhist monastic setting. Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron had suggested the name, as Sravasti was the place in India where the Buddha spent 25 rains retreats varsa in Sanskrit and yarne in Tibetan , and communities of both nuns and monks had resided there. Sravasti Abbey is notable because it is home to a growing group of fully ordained bhikshuni s Buddhist nuns practicing in the Tibetan tradition.
This is special because the tradition of full ordination for women was not transmitted from India to Tibet. Ordained women practicing in the Tibetan tradition usually hold a novice ordination.
Venerable Thubten Chodron , while faithfully following the teachings of her Tibetan teachers, has arranged for her students to seek full ordination as bhikshunis in Taiwan. In January , the Abbey, which then had seven bhikshunis and three novices, formally began its first winter varsa three-month monastic retreat , which lasted until April 13, As far as the Abbey knows, this was the first time a Western bhikshuni sangha practicing in the Tibetan tradition had done this ritual in the United States and in English. On April 19, the Abbey held its first kathina ceremony to mark the end of the varsa.
Also in the Abbey held its first Pavarana rite at the end of the varsa. Theravada is best known for Vipassana , roughly translated as "insight meditation", which is an ancient meditative practice described in the Pali Canon of the Theravada school of Buddhism and similar scriptures. The Vihara was accessible to English-speakers with Vipassana meditation part of its activities.
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However, the direct influence of the Vipassana movement would not reach the U. Goldstein and Kornfield met in while teaching at the Naropa Institute in Colorado. Its director is Mu Soeng , a former Korean Zen monk. Gotami of Thailand, then a 10 precept nun. Gotami received full ordination in , at which time her dwelling became America's first Theravada Buddhist bhikkhuni vihara. More recently established Theravada bhikkhuni viharas include: Mahapajapati Monastery  where several nuns bhikkhunis and novices live together in the desert of southern California near Joshua Tree, founded by Ven.
Sobhana Bhikkhuni as Prioress, which opened officially in July , where several bhikkhunis reside together along with trainees and lay supporters; and Sati Saraniya  in Ontario, founded by Ven. Medhanandi in appx , where two bhikkhunis reside. There are also quiet residences of individual bhikkhunis where they may receive visitors and give teachings, such as the residence of Ven. Susila Bhikkhuni; and the residence of Ven. Wimala Bhikkhuni in the mid-west. In , in Northern California, 4 novice nuns were given the full bhikkhuni ordination in the Thai Theravada tradition, which included the double ordination ceremony.
Bhante Gunaratana and other monks and nuns were in attendance.
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It was the first such ordination ever in the Western hemisphere. Bhante Gunaratana is currently the abbot of the Bhavana Society , a monastery and meditation retreat center that he founded in High View , West Virginia. Goenka was a Burmese-born meditation teacher of the Vipassana movement.
Goenka established a method of instruction popular in Asia and throughout the world. The Association of American Buddhists was a group which promotes Buddhism through publications, ordination of monks , and classes. Organized in by American practitioners of Theravada , Mahayana , and Vajrayana Buddhism, it does not espouse any particular school or schools of Buddhism. It respects all Buddhist traditions as equal, and encourages unity of Buddhism in thought and practice.
It states that a different, American, form of Buddhism is possible, and that the cultural forms attached to the older schools of Buddhism need not necessarily be followed by westerners. Gross, a feminist religious scholar, claims that many people converted to Buddhism in the s and '70s as an attempt to combat traditional American values.
However, in their conversion, they have created a new form of Buddhism distinctly Western in thought and practice. However, another one of these characteristics is rationalism, which has allowed Buddhists to come to terms with the scientific and technological advances of the 21st century. Engagement in social issues, such as global warming, domestic violence, poverty and discrimination, has also shaped Buddhism in America.
Privatization of ritual practices into home life has embodied Buddhism in America. American Buddhism was able to embed these new religious ideals into such a historically rich religious tradition and culture due to the high conversion rate in the late 20th century. Three important factors led to this conversion in America: American culture places a large emphasis on having a personal religious identity as a spiritual and ethical foundation.
During the s and onward, society also became more open to other religious practices outside of Protestantism, allowing more people to explore Buddhism.
People also became more interested in spiritual and experiential religion rather than the traditional institutional religions of the time. The mass conversion of the 60s and 70s was also occurring alongside the second-wave feminist movement.
In recent years, there is a strong presence of women in American Buddhism, and many women are even in leadership roles. In , for the first time in American history, a Buddhist ordination was held where an American woman Sister Khanti-Khema took the Samaneri novice vows with an American monk Bhante Vimalaramsi presiding. Socially engaged Buddhism has developed in Buddhism in the West.
While some critics [ who? This is particularly true in the West, where almost all converts to Buddhism come to it outside of an existing family or community tradition. Engaged Buddhism is an attempt to apply Buddhist values to larger social problems, including war and environmental concerns. The term was coined by Thich Nhat Hanh , during his years as a peace activist in Vietnam. Bhikkhu Bodhi, was invited to write an editorial essay for the Buddhist magazine Buddhadharma. In his essay, he called attention to the narrowly inward focus of American Buddhism, which has been pursued to the neglect of the active dimension of Buddhist compassion expressed through programs of social engagement.
After a few rounds of discussions, they resolved to form a Buddhist relief organization dedicated to alleviating the suffering of the poor and disadvantaged in the developing world. At the initial meetings, seeking a point of focus, they decided to direct their relief efforts at the problem of global hunger, especially by supporting local efforts by those in developing countries to achieve self-sufficiency through improved food productivity.
Contacts were made with leaders and members of other Buddhist communities in the greater New York area, and before long Buddhist Global Relief emerged as an inter-denominational organization comprising people of different Buddhist groups who share the vision of a Buddhism actively committed to the task of alleviating social and economic suffering. A number of groups and individuals have been implicated in scandals.
Ford states that no one can express the "hurt and dismay" these events brought to each center, and that the centers have in many cases emerged stronger because they no longer depend on a "single charismatic leader". Robert Sharf also mentions charisma from which institutional power is derived, and the need to balance charismatic authority with institutional authority.
Following is a partial list from reliable sources, limited to the United States and by no means all-inclusive. Definitions and policies may differ greatly between different schools or sects: Disagreement and misunderstanding exist on this point, among lay practitioners and Zen teachers alike.
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In my studies I've run across literally dozens of such cases. James Ford claims that about eighty percent of authentic teachers in the United States belong to the American Zen Teachers Association or the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and are listed on their websites. This can help a prospective student sort out who is a "normative stream" teacher from someone who is perhaps not, but of course twenty percent do not participate. Accurate counts of Buddhists in the United States are difficult. Because Buddhism is a cultural concept, individuals who self-describe as Buddhists may have little knowledge or commitment to Buddhism as a religion or practice; on the other hand, others may be deeply involved in meditation and committed to the Dharma , but may refuse the label "Buddhist".
In the s, Robert A. Thurman estimated there were 5 to 6 million Buddhists in America. In a Pew Research Center survey, at 0. ARIS estimated that the number of adherents rose by percent between and , reaching 1. Scholars are unsure whether the reports are accurate, as Americans who might dabble in various forms of Buddhism may not identify themselves as Buddhist on a survey.
That makes it difficult to quantify the number of Buddhists in the United States. Others argued, in , that Buddhists made up 1 percent of the American population about three million people. A sociological survey conducted in found that relative to the US population as a whole, import Buddhists i. Nearly a third of the respondents were college graduates, and more than half held advanced degrees. Import Buddhists were also proportionately more likely to have come from Catholic , and especially Jewish backgrounds.
More than half of these adherents came to Buddhism through reading books on the topic, with the rest coming by way of martial arts and friends or acquaintances. The average age of the respondents was Daily meditation was their most commonly cited Buddhist practice, with most meditating 30 minutes a day or more.
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