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.

References:

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

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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.

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Keywords

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

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Good Deaths: Perspectives on Dying Well and on Medical Assistance in Dying at Thrangu Monastery Canada
Religions 2019, 10(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020070
Received: 1 December 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
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Abstract
Anthropological, sociological, and bioethical research suggest that various agencies affect one’s relationship with the dying process and end-of-life decisions. Agencies include the media, medical professionals, culture, and religion. Observing the prevalence of meditations and rituals relating to death at Thrangu Monastery Canada, I [...] Read more.
Anthropological, sociological, and bioethical research suggest that various agencies affect one’s relationship with the dying process and end-of-life decisions. Agencies include the media, medical professionals, culture, and religion. Observing the prevalence of meditations and rituals relating to death at Thrangu Monastery Canada, I wanted to investigate how the latter two agencies in particular, namely culture and religion, impacted the monastery members’ views on the dying process. During 2018 interviews, I asked their opinions on the meaning of dying well, and on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), which was legalized in Canada in 2016. Although some scriptural examinations have suggested that voluntary euthanasia is contrary to Buddhist teachings, the majority of the monastery’s respondents support MAID to some degree and in some circumstances. Moral absolutes were not valued as much as autonomy, noninterference, wisdom, and compassion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in the United States and Canada)
Open AccessArticle Varieties of Buddhist Healing in Multiethnic Philadelphia
Religions 2019, 10(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010048
Received: 28 November 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 13 January 2019
PDF Full-text (4118 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
While an increasing amount of attention has been paid in the last decade to mindfulness meditation, the broader impact of Buddhism on healthcare in the United States, or any industrialized Western countries, is still much in need of scholarly investigation. The current article [...] Read more.
While an increasing amount of attention has been paid in the last decade to mindfulness meditation, the broader impact of Buddhism on healthcare in the United States, or any industrialized Western countries, is still much in need of scholarly investigation. The current article presents preliminary results from an ethnographic study exploring the impact of a wide range of Buddhist institutions, practices, and cultural orientations on the healthcare landscape of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. By particularly focusing on segments of the population that are non-white and that have limited English language skills, one of the main goals of this project is to bring more diverse voices into the contemporary conversation about Buddhism and wellbeing in America. Moreover, as it extends far beyond the topic of meditation, this study also is intended to highlight a wider range of practices and orientations toward health and healing that are current in contemporary American Buddhism. Finally, this paper also forwards the argument that the study of these activities should be grounded in an appreciation of how individual Buddhist institutions are situated within specific local contexts, and reflect unique configurations of local factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in the United States and Canada)
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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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Abstract
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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