The last section takes up the general theme of Americanization, looking at recent developments in three important areas -gender equity, progressive social change, and intra-Buddhist and interreligious dialogue. Arguing that the gulf between recent converts and new immigrant communities is the most prominent feature of the contemporary scene, Seager assesses American Buddhism as a whole and looks into its future: Will the dharma, traditional Buddhist teachings, be watered down to suit the lifestyles of middle-class, consumerist Americans? Will this highly decentralized religion develop strong national associations, as Catholicism and Judaism have? What institutions -universities, monasteries, or dharma centers run by and for laypeople -will be most effective in preserving and developing an American Buddhist tradition? This lucid survey lays the foundations for understanding one of the United States´ most vital new religions.
Reviews"Richard Seager marks out a magnificent road map, directing us to important people, places, and issues in multifaceted Buddhist America at the turn of the millennium. Under Seager´s guidance we discover a great deal about the Buddhists of America, but also a great deal about the Americanization of Buddhism."
–Paul David Numrich,
director of the Buddhist Chicago Project; author of Old Wisdom in the New World: Americanization in Two Immigrant Thervada Buddhist Temples
"The first comprehensive treatment of Buddhism in America to take seriously the experiences of immigrants, Buddhism in America is a fascinating road map to the contemporary Buddhist landscape, with Seager as the expert guide."
–Stephen Prothero, Boston University