Buddhist Missionaries in the Era of Globalization
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256pp. November 2004
Buddhist Missionaries in the Era of Globalization
Editor: Learman, Linda;
This insightful volume dispels the common notion that Buddhism is not a missionary religion by revealing Asian Buddhists as active agents in the propagation of their faith. It presents at the same time a new framework with which to study missionary activity in both Buddhist and other religious traditions. Included are case studies of Theravada, Chinese, and Tibetan Buddhist teachers and congregations, as well as the Pure Land, Shingon, Zen, and Soka Gakkai traditions of Japan.

Contributors examine both foreign and domestic missions and the activities of emigrant communities, showing the resources and strategies garnered by late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century Buddhists who worked to uphold and further their respective traditions, often under difficult circumstances. Based on anthropological fieldwork and historical research, the essays break new ground and provide better analytical tools for studying mission activity than previously available. They provide instructive comparisons with Anglo-American Protestant missionary thinking and offer insights into the internal dynamics of Sri Lankan and Japanese missions as they make their way in Protestant and Catholic societies. Also included are nuanced studies of two major missionary figures in late twentieth-century Chinese Buddhism and a fascinating look at the present Dalai Lama’s relationships with his devotees and the American government, viewed through an exposition of the abiding tradition within Tibetan Buddhism that combines mission activity with the political goals of exiled lamas.

Contributors: Stuart Chandler; Peter B. Clarke; C. Julia Huang; Steven Kemper; Linda Learman; Sarah LeVine; Richard K. Payne; Cristina Rocha; George J. Tanabe, Jr.; Gray Tuttle.


Topics in Contemporary Buddhism Series
"A highly welcome contribution to the current literature of religion, globalization and diaspora studies. Besides presenting new information, it also provides material for ‘cross-pollination,’ bound up with the complex interaction between globalization, mission, diaspora, popular culture and conversion. Altogether, the book is a refreshing read and is very well edited, with the articles in actual dialogue with each other." —Temenos: Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion (44:1, 2008)
Editor: Learman, Linda;
Linda Learman is a Ph.D. student in anthropology at Boston University.
Read the introduction (PDF).



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