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Buddhadharma : Win 2012
WINTER 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 73 The world is places,” Gary Snyder famously said. This quote from his essay “The Place, the Region, and the Commons” graces the introduction of Jeff Wilson’s new book, Dixie Dharma: Inside a Buddhist Temple in the American South. Of course, Snyder was right. We may say that we live in the world, but that “world” is only an abstract idea; we live in particular places—whether town or city, East Coast or West, the mid-Atlantic or the South. And each of these places has unique features—and cultures—all their own. This startlingly simple insight is at the heart of Dixie Dharma. Wilson’s study focuses on a single Buddhist temple in the American South: the Ekoji Buddhist Sangha in Richmond, Virginia. It is at once a fascinating account of a pluralistic Buddhism that is emerging in the South and a troubling vision of how difficult it is to introduce Buddhist practices and ideas in a place that memorializes and celebrates its own, often erroneous, view of history. As we know, whenever and wherever Buddhism has spread it has undergone change, adapting to its new cultural environment. In Don Morreale’s 1988 Complete Guide to Buddhist America, in an essay titled “American Buddhism,” Jack Kornfield EAST MEETS SOUTH DIXIE DHARMA By Jeff Wilson University of North Carolina Press, 2012 296 pages; $36.95 Reviewed by Jan Willis JAN WILLIS is a professor of religion at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conneticut, and a longtime scholar–practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the author of Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist (Wisdom). “ REVIEWS