using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
buddhadharma| 67 |summer 2005 practice communities, but also recasts an important and controversial ques- tion that held center stage in the 1990’s when America was still bullish about Buddhism: Which Buddhist community represents the most authentic expression of an Americanizing dhamma? The debate about authenticity and Americanization emerged first within practice communities but it was soon picked up by academics. The blow-by- blow of developments in the debate are of limited interest here; suffice it to say that the issue first turned on which Buddhist community – immigrant Asian or Euro- American – best represented the progres- sive spirit of America. As the debate unfolded, it soon morphed into a more formal question about how, given the welter of traditions and sects flourishing on American soil, observers could best describe Buddhism in the U.S. Was there one American Buddhism? Two? Three? Or were there far too many Buddhisms to schematize meaningfully? The idea that there are two American Buddhisms – one immigrant, the other convert – seems to have largely won the day, a position thor- oughly argued by Paul Numrich, also a scholar of American Theravada, who has had the last word on the debate to date and recounted its details against the broad contours of the history of Buddhism in this country.1 Heartwood’s importance is best appre- ciated when read against this debate, the rancor of which Cadge defuses with her evenhanded treatment of Wat Phila and CIMC and her methodological sophis- tication. Cadge references her research to leading sociologists and globalization theorists, while blending history, inter- views, social analysis, and insight gleaned from participant observation. She styles Heartwood as “a specific empirical case study of how globalization influences the development of a religious tradition in the United States,” and shows how “the American ‘context of reception’ shapes Theravada Buddhism for two very different groups of people.” General readers and those primarily concerned with practice should not be deterred by Cadge’s methodological preoccupations. Her primary data comprises rich details drawn from the lived experience of peo- ple within the two communities, and her accessible writing makes her theoretical interests go down easily. Of particular interest is how Cadge qui- etly, but effectively, takes on the still-impor- tant questions about Americanization, a process that in the 1990’s tended to be highly essentialized and presented in dra- matic, dichotomous terms. In the course of the debate, immigrant and convert were often portrayed as pitted against one another in a contest over which best embodied both the spirit of America and the essential teachings of the Buddha. With greater access to media, converts set the terms of the debate, which often were starkly articulated: Asian hierarchy vs. American egalitarianism; obscurant ritualism vs. liberating meditation; hoary religious cosmologies vs. secularist psy- chologies; monastic authority vs. innova- tive laity; and so forth. Cadge deconstructs such polarizing thinking, even as she explores the social realities that gave rise to it, by mak- ing a sustained comparative study of the two communities. She writes about Wat Phila and CIMC as social locations in the U.S. – the “context of reception” noted above – into which Buddhism is being imported from Asia through vari- ous global networks such as immigration, the Peace Corps, traveling monastics, and audiotapes released in Asia for world- wide distribution. She conceives the two institutions as “containers,” in which a range of practices, rituals, ceremonies, and ideas – whether about Asian saints or American social values – are being com- bined with the Buddha’s teachings and pressed into service as the existentially meaningful stuff at the core of personal and collective worldviews. By making these seemingly small conceptual shifts, Cadge manages to avoid the excesses of last decade’s debate, while adding nuance and advancing the discussion about what it means to be both American and Buddhist. In a similar, if less direct, fashion, Cadge addresses the question of how to sche- matize American Buddhism. Comparing an immigrant and convert community implicitly acknowledges that one cannot think meaningfully about Buddhism in the U.S. without factoring in the very differ- ent experiences of these two large groups. But at the outset, she writes that the two Buddhisms model “does not fully or accu- 1 Paul David Numrich, “Two Buddhisms Further Considered,” Contemporary Buddhism, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2003). Membership in the Buddhist Peace Fellowship includes subscription to Turning Wheel PO Box 3470, Berkeley, CA 94703 Ph: 510/655-6169 • Fax: 510/655-1369 • www.bpf.org The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism The award-winning quarterly magazine of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship is looking for essays on socially engaged Buddhism by emerging writers. Our Winter issue’s theme is “disarmament” Is the world safer armed or disarmed? What will it take for civilization to peacefully disarm? How are we armed as individuals? Next deadline for submissions: September 6, 2005. An award of $500 and publication in Turning Wheel for an essay on this theme. Writers must be 30 years old or younger and not previously published in Turning Wheel. Visit www.bpf.org for future themes and deadlines, and for general submission guidelines. $500 Young Writers Award! TUR NING WHEEL