Special Issue "Buddhism in the United States and Canada"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Scott A. Mitchell

Rev. Yoshitaka Tamai Professor of Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Studies; Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs, Institute of Buddhist Studies; Core Doctoral Faculty, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Rd, Berkeley, CA 94709, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Buddhism in Western contexts; Pure Land Buddhism; Ritual studies; Media studies

Special Issue Information

Over the last century, Buddhism has grown and diversified in both the United States and Canada. Now well-established, Buddhist communities of practice have variously adapted or resisted adaptation to North American cultural norms. This volume, building on a wealth of recent scholarship, seeks to explore Buddhism as a lived tradition of practice with diverse local manifestations.

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last two decades, a growing body of scholarship has emerged on Buddhism in both the United States and Canada including several edited volumes and monographs such as Harding, Hori, and Soucy’s Flowers on the Rock (2014), Mitchell and Quli’s Buddhism Beyond Borders (2015), and Wilson’s Dixie Dharma (2012). Whereas an earlier generation of scholarship on North American Buddhism was dominated by historical studies, and Numrich’s North American Buddhists in Social Context (2008) brought a much needed sociological lens to the subject, more work is needed to chart the landscape of North American Buddhism.

Wilson has argued that Buddhism in the United States (2015) and Canada (2011) is a local phenomenon. To truly test that hypothesis, sustained ethnographic fieldwork would be needed to critically explore and describe Buddhism’s various expressions in the Midwest, New England, Hawai’i, or the Pacific Northwest. Within these regional locales, Buddhism manifests in a variety of ways, and Buddhists adapt (or resist adapting) their practices to suit local ecological, economic, and cultural conditions. A deeper understanding how North American Buddhists have attuned traditional forms of dress, behavior, economies, or practices to local conditions is needed.

For this volume, we hope to solicit work that focuses on select regions, field sites, or case studies to explore North American Buddhism's various engagements with broader cultural trends. Such trends may include the rise of secular mindfulness programs; social, political, and ecological engagements; local economies, globalization, and the commodification of Buddhist images and icons; or Buddhist higher education and Buddhist practitioners within the academic field of Buddhist Studies. We are also interested in new theoretical approaches to the study of Buddhism in the United States and Canada, as well as critical evaluations of previously understudied Buddhist teachers, leaders, and public figures.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.


Harding, John S, Victor Sogen Hori, and Alexander Soucy. 2014. Flowers on the Rock: Global and Local Buddhisms in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Univeristy Press.

Mitchell, Scott A, and Natalie E.F. Quli, eds. 2015. Buddhism Beyond Borders: New Perspectives on Buddhism in the United States. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Numrich, Paul David, ed. 2008. North American Buddhists in social context. Boston: Brill.

Wilson, Jeff. 2011. “What is Canadian about Canadian Buddhism?” Religion Compass 5 (9): 536-548.

Wilson, Jeff. 2012. Dixie Dharma: Inside a Buddhist Temple in the American South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Prof. Dr. Scott A. Mitchell
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Buddhism
  • North America
  • United States
  • Canada
  • ethnography
  • society
  • culture

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Intertwined Sources of Buddhist Modernist Opposition to Ritual: History, Philosophy, Culture
Religions 2018, 9(11), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110366
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 10 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 17 November 2018
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This essay is an inquiry into the religio-cultural background of the opposition to ritual evidenced by many adherents of Buddhist modernism. This background can be structured by three different kinds of questions—historical, philosophical, and cultural. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in the United States and Canada)
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