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You are here : Home > Books > Western > East-West

Race and Religion in American Buddhism

White Supremacy and Immigrant Adaption
Race and Religion in American Buddhism
Author(s) : Cheah, Joseph
Publishers Price : 40.00
Wisdom Price : 38.00(save 5%)
Availability : Usually available in 7 day(s)
ISBN : 0199756287
EAN : 9780199756285
Cover : Hardback
Pages : 240
Publisher : Oxford Univ Press, New York
Published : 2011
Category : East-West
Category 2 : Western Study of Buddhism
When the first wave of Burmese immigrant Buddhists set foot on American soil in the late 1960s, they came into contact not only with a variety of forms of Buddhism not found in their native Burma, but also with white or convert Buddhism, whose legacy, claims the author, includes the specter of an Orientalist and racist past, often hardly acknowledged, yet rarely, if ever, entirely absent from the discourse within Euro-American Buddhism. Vestiges of the latter can still be seen today, from the controversy surrounding who represents "American Buddhism" to a smorgasbord approach to Buddhist practices taken for granted in many meditation centres, hospitals, and other institutions.

Cheah contends that race is embedded in these and other issues not so much in a sense of prejudice or discrimination as in the sense of racial idealogy of white supremacy. By white supremacy he means a hegemonic understanding, on the part of both whites and non-whites, that while Euro-American culture, values, attitudes, beliefs, and practices are the norm according to which other cultures and social practices are judged. Cheah investigates the role played by the racial ideology of white supremacy in the two different ways in which white Euro-Americans and Burmese ethnic Buddhists have adapted Buddhist religious practices to the American context. He employs racial formation theory to examine the appropriation of Asian Buddhist practices by convert Buddhists and sympathizers, and uses a dual domination paradigm to analyze the adaptation of Burmese Buddhist practices by Burmese immigrant Buddhists to the American context on the other.
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