The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition

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9780195152418: The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition

Today, many in western society find themselves seeking more satisfying spiritual lives. Faiths formerly seen as exotic have suddenly become attractive alternatives in our multicultural society. This is especially true of Buddhism, which is the focus of constant media attention, thanks in part to celebrity converts, major motion pictures, and the popularity of the Dalai Lama. Following this recent trend, James Coleman argues that a new and radically different form of this ancient faith is emerging.
Investigating the contemporary scene, Coleman finds that Western teachers have borrowed liberally from different Buddhist traditions that have had little interaction with each other in Asia, that men and women practice together as equals, and that the path of meditation and spiritual practice is offered to everyone, not just an elite cadre of monks. Drawing on interviews with noted teachers and lay practitioners, as well as a survey completed by members of seven North American Buddhist centers, Coleman depicts the colorful variety of new Buddhists today, from dilettantes to devoted students and the dedicated teachers who guide their spiritual progress. He also details the problems that have arisen ,especially with regard to gender roles, sex, and power.
Exploring the appeal of this exotic faith in postmodern society and questioning its future in a global consumer culture, The New Buddhism provides a thorough and fascinating guide to Western Buddhism today.

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Review:

The newcomer to Buddhism is often confused at the variety of forms it takes, from spare and strict Zen to flamboyant Tibetan Buddhism. Sociologist James William Coleman's The New Buddhism does us all a favor by breaking down Buddhism as practiced in the West. He begins with a concise but inclusive history of Buddhism's many faces in Asia. A summary of Buddhism's transplant to the West and subsequent growth there brings us right up to present-day teachers and movements. He then combines his 15 years of personal experience with wide reading, personal interviews, and hundreds of questionnaires to show us who Western Buddhists are--where they come from, why they are attracted to Buddhism, and what they do in their practice. Coleman also focuses his magnifying lens on specific groups, noting the dynamics of the different organizations as well as the pressures that they have faced, from succession controversies to sex scandals. Anyone interested in Buddhism should pick up a few titles on the how-tos of meditation and the wherefores of Buddhist philosophy, and at the same time, they should pick up The New Buddhism for a clear picture of the contemporary reality behind the ancient teachings. --Brian Bruya

About the Author:


James William Coleman is Professor of Sociology at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a specialization in the sociology of religion, he has been a practicing Buddhist for the last fifteen years.

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James William Coleman
Editore: Oxford University Press Inc, United States (2002)
ISBN 10: 0195152417 ISBN 13: 9780195152418
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In our multicultural society, faiths formerly seen as exotic have become attractive alternatives for many people seeking more satisfying spiritual lives. This is especially true of Buddhism, which is the focus of constant media attention-thanks at least in part to celebrity converts, major motion pictures, and the popularity of the Dalai Lama. Following this recent trend in the West, author James Coleman argues that a new and radically different form of this ancient faith is emerging. The New Buddhism sheds new light on this recent evolution of Buddhist practice in the West. After briefly recounting the beginnings and spread of Buddhism in the East, Coleman chronicles its reinterpretation by key Western teachers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging from the British poet Sir Edwin Arnold to the Beat writer Alan Watts. Turning to the contemporary scene, he finds that Western teachers have borrowed liberally from different Buddhist traditions that never intersect in their original contexts. Men and women practice together as equals; ceremonies and rituals are simpler, more direct, and not believed to have magical effects. Moreover, the new Buddhism has made the path of meditation and spiritual awakening available to everyone, not just an elite cadre of monks. Drawing on interviews with noted teachers and lay practitioners, as well as a survey completed by members of seven North American Buddhist centers, Coleman depicts the colorful variety of new Buddhists today, from dilettantes to devoted students and the dedicated teachers who guide their spiritual progress. He also details the problems that have arisen because of some Western influences-especially with regard to gender roles, sex, and power. Exploring the appeal of this exotic faith in postmodern society and questioning its future in a global consumer culture, The New Buddhism provides a thorough and fascinating guide to Western Buddhism today. Codice libro della libreria AAV9780195152418

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James William Coleman
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In our multicultural society, faiths formerly seen as exotic have become attractive alternatives for many people seeking more satisfying spiritual lives. This is especially true of Buddhism, which is the focus of constant media attention-thanks at least in part to celebrity converts, major motion pictures, and the popularity of the Dalai Lama. Following this recent trend in the West, author James Coleman argues that a new and radically different form of this ancient faith is emerging. The New Buddhism sheds new light on this recent evolution of Buddhist practice in the West. After briefly recounting the beginnings and spread of Buddhism in the East, Coleman chronicles its reinterpretation by key Western teachers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging from the British poet Sir Edwin Arnold to the Beat writer Alan Watts. Turning to the contemporary scene, he finds that Western teachers have borrowed liberally from different Buddhist traditions that never intersect in their original contexts. Men and women practice together as equals; ceremonies and rituals are simpler, more direct, and not believed to have magical effects. Moreover, the new Buddhism has made the path of meditation and spiritual awakening available to everyone, not just an elite cadre of monks. Drawing on interviews with noted teachers and lay practitioners, as well as a survey completed by members of seven North American Buddhist centers, Coleman depicts the colorful variety of new Buddhists today, from dilettantes to devoted students and the dedicated teachers who guide their spiritual progress. He also details the problems that have arisen because of some Western influences-especially with regard to gender roles, sex, and power. Exploring the appeal of this exotic faith in postmodern society and questioning its future in a global consumer culture, The New Buddhism provides a thorough and fascinating guide to Western Buddhism today. Codice libro della libreria AAV9780195152418

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