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How American Buddhism is Like an Elephant

Woman doing yoga on beach To understandBuddhism in the United States, it helps to start with an ancient Buddhist story.A group of blind mendescribe an elephant. One, who feels the elephants tail, describes it as a rope. Another feels the head, and says the elephant is like a boulder. The other blind men,after feeling its tusks and its belly, describe the elephant as like a long staff or a large urn.The lesson: its complex, and dependson which part of the elephant you examine. Buddhism first came to the United States via immigrants from Asia, and people of Asian descent still comprise the vast majority of American Buddhists, who are said to number anywhere from a million to five million.In 1965, immigration laws changed and more Asians immigrated to the U.S.. They brought with them their ancestral worship patterns, including Buddhist practices of Chinese, Japanese and, later, Vietnamese traditions.While that family and tradition-rooted Buddhism has grown, much scholarly attention has been focused on what has been called white Buddhism, or those Americans of European ancestry who have embraced its tenets. An estimated quarter of American Buddhists are considered converts from traditional Christianity, Judaism, or secularist philosophies. An estimated quarter of American Buddhists are considered converts from traditional Christianity, Judaism, or secularist philosophies.Religion scholar Peter N. Gregory emphasizes that Buddhism encompasses a wide range of traditions, rituals, and philosophies , developing as it didin diverse cultures from India through Southeast Asia.

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Is Buddhism a Religion or What?

I guess thats a little off topic. The point is that religion isnt going anywhere, and even if it goes awayitll be replaced by something like religion. This is the truth: religions like Buddhism and Christianity arose because people thought the religions of their parents were boring and not useful anymore. Things go away they get replaced. Anyway, heres the core of my argument and Ill try to keep it simple. The great philosopher and scholar William James described religion as: the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto. I want to make the claim, as William James does, that that is the correct definition of religion.

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