American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity



American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond ModernityThis Illuminating Account Of Contemporary American Buddhism Shows The Remarkable Ways The Tradition Has Changed Over The Past Generation The Past Couple Of Decades Have Witnessed Buddhist Communities Both Continuing The Modernization Of Buddhism And Questioning Some Of Its Limitations In This Fascinating Portrait Of A Rapidly Changing Religious Landscape, Ann Gleig Illuminates The Aspirations And Struggles Of Younger North American Buddhists During A Period She Identifies As A Distinct Stage In The Assimilation Of Buddhism To The West She Observes Both The Emergence Of New Innovative Forms Of Deinstitutionalized Buddhism That Blur The Boundaries Between The Religious And Secular, And A Revalorization Of Traditional Elements Of Buddhism, Such As Ethics And Community, That Were Discarded In The Modernization Process Based On Extensive Ethnographic And Textual Research, The Book Ranges From Mindfulness Debates In The Vipassana Network To The Sex Scandals In American Zen, While Exploring Issues Around Racial Diversity And Social Justice, The Impact Of New Technologies, And Generational Differences Between Baby Boomer, Gen X, And Millennial Teachers

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity book, this is one of the most wanted Ann Gleig author readers around the world.

[[ PDF ]] ❤ American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity Author Ann Gleig – Heartforum.co.uk
  • Hardcover
  • 376 pages
  • American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity
  • Ann Gleig
  • 26 August 2017
  • 0300215800

10 thoughts on “American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity

  1. Seth says:

    Let s cut to the chase Ann Gleig, who is an associate professor of religion at the University of Central Florida, has written a splendid book that is an instant classic American Dharma Buddhism Beyond Modernity is a must read book for anyone interested in understanding what has been happening in the world of American convert Buddhism over the past decade and where it is headed The book is comprehensive in fairly covering the myriad trends, countertrends, and controversies that have roile Let s cut to the chase Ann Gleig, who is an associate professor of religion at the University of Central Florida, has written a splendid book that is an instant classic American Dharma Buddhism Beyond Modernity is a must read book for anyone interested in understanding what has been happening in the world of American convert Buddhism over the past decade and where it is headed The book is comprehensive in fairly covering the myriad trends, countertrends, and controversies that have roiled the convert Buddhist community in recent years especially in the American Zen, Insight Meditation, mindfulness, Secular Buddhist, and on line Buddhist communities Gleig sees these trends as part of the larger narrative of the transition of Western culture from modernism to postmodernism, post secularism, post colonialism, and digital literacy She sees boomer generation Buddhist modernism as subject to a variety of critiques from millennials and Gen Xers, Asian heritage Buddhists, people of color and queer and transgendered people She also sees Buddhist modernism as subject to critiques from those who think it has modernized too far and those who think it hasn t modernized enough Finally, there are the hot button issues of sexual scandals in Buddhist communities and the controversies over whether mindfulness is being commodified, taught outside of an ethical context, or being used as a handmaiden to economic interests Gleig covers all of these issues with both scholarly thoroughness and a degree of personal acquaintance with many of the institutions and actors she writes about Her participant observer stance, writing from both inside and outside of the phenomena she describes, gives the book a genuine vitality I am also happy to say that she really knows how to write the book is a pleasure to read all the way through That having been said, is there anything that bothered me about the book Of course there is Gleig is writing from a specific point of view as a member of Generation X, as a political progressive, and as an LGBTQ feminist I, on the other hand, am reading her book from the point of view as an aging, Ashkenazi, cisgender, straight, boomer Buddhist modernist who is politically liberal in the older sense of the word rather than progressive in the newer sense This means that she reads almost all these critiques as positive steps to cheer about, whereas I belong to the generation on their receiving end While they may be merited, it s hard for me to be unabashedly happy about them I still subscribe to the old time liberal belief in inclusiveness, rather than the newer identity politics of anti racism, call out culture, and intersectionality Some of the progressive critique of liberalism is well taken if it is seen as calling for a recognition and celebration of differences rather than a color blind attempt to ignore them, or is calling for lighter skinned people to recognize the pervasive ways in which our culture has systematically disadvantaged and oppressed people of color, or an interrogation of how lighter skin carries advantages whether one wishes it to or not We all can benefit from questioning the degree to which we are complicit in a culture that harms others, but there are ways in which I give these newer trends only one or two cheers rather than three I recently attended a large progressive Buddhist event which broke up into smaller groups where I was asked to state what would make me feel safe in the group and what pronoun I would prefer to be called by I recognized the good intentions behind this, but experienced it as excessive and alienating I felt like a dinosaur in the midst of this new progressive culture Perhaps I was

  2. Tom says:

    Zen, Chan, Tibetan all well known names for the distinctive versions of Buddhism associated with three of the countries that have been home to the dharma for thousands of years, namely Japan, China, and Tibet However, here in the United States, where its presence isappropriately measured in decades rather than in millennia, Buddhism has earned the far less distinctive, almost bland, name of Western Buddhism as if it is still too immature and too undeveloped to merit amemorable Zen, Chan, Tibetan all well known names for the distinctive versions of Buddhism associated with three of the countries that have been home to the dharma for thousands of years, namely Japan, China, and Tibet However, here in the United States, where its presence isappropriately measured in decades rather than in millennia, Buddhism has earned the far less distinctive, almost bland, name of Western Buddhism as if it is still too immature and too undeveloped to merit amemorable name.In her remarkable new book, American Dharma Buddhism Beyond Modernity, scholar Ann Gleig makes a compelling case that Western Buddhism, as it currently exists in America, is anything but immature and undeveloped On the contrary, in the relatively brief half century of its presence here, Buddhism has already passed through two important transformative stages the first mostly completed, and the second well under way but still in process.The first transformation has its origins not in Buddhism s migration to the West, but rather in colonialism s intrusion into the East Gleig contends, convincingly, that the British and other European colonizers exerted a subtle but powerful influence on the traditional Buddhism being practiced in India, by virtue of their forceful introduction of Enlightenment values into the native culture This colonial culture gave rise to the radically new idea of meditation as the pursuit of individual wellbeing, rather than an expression of community among individuals following shared traditions and rituals It was this novel Enlightenment based approach to mindfulness that was taught to the American students who arrived in India in the late 1960s to learn meditation from traditional masters When these students returned to America in the 1970s to pass along what they had learned on their pilgrimages to the East, they were in fact spreading modern, not traditional, Buddhism While the modernism of Western Buddhism may have its infant roots in the post colonial culture of the East, its growth and maturity are firmly rooted in contemporary America Here, over the past four decades, Buddhism has attracted a mostly white, mostly well educated, mostly well to do group of practitioners overwhelmingly liberal in their political sympathies, devoted to European Enlightenment ideals of science and reason, and drawn to the psychotherapeutic benefits of mindfulness Gleig refers to this meditation centered, mostly secular, and highly psychologized version that has become the dominant form of Buddhist practice in America as convert Buddhism , underscoring the deep divide between it and thetraditional forms of Buddhism still practiced in the West by what she terms the immigrant community of mostly Asian American, usuallyreligious, and generally less well to do practitioners This first transformative stage of Western Buddhism into its modernist form is now largely complete, but the split just described between convert and immigrant communities has laid the groundwork for a second,dramatic transformation which is just getting started It is this second wave of transformation that Gleig s research has detected, and that defines the core thesis of American Dharma Gleig proposes that the characteristics of Buddhist modernism firmly established by the success of the convert communities in the first wave of transformation are now, in response both to internal pressures building within the convert communities themselves and to external forces occurring in American culture, entering upon a state of radical transformation into what she designates as an emerging form of postmodern Buddhism In three key chapters in the first half of her book, Gleig examines three different manifestations of the impact of modernist American culture on convert Buddhism the secular mindfulness movement, the sexual revolution and its attendant abuses, and the growing confluence of psychotherapy and meditation Here she shows how this modernist form of American Buddhism, with its predominantly white culture and its primary focus on individual wellbeing, contains within itself the seeds of the diversity challenges both racial and generational that are opening the doors to a variety of postmodernist trends Her detailed account of how one such community in the convert lineage has struggled valiantly, but ultimately in vain, to overcome the racial divide between its majority white membership and its minority persons of color group is heartbreaking to read.In the second half of the book, Gleig switches focus away from the modernist communities and their leadership, and toward the voices and the projects of the emerging postmodernist influencers in the American Buddhist community Once again, three key chapters explore in depth three significant developments the emergence of a radically new emphasis on social and racial justice as a necessary component of Buddhist practice, the growing popularity of online communities and social media networks with younger practitioners, and the tensions brewing between the aging boomer generation of teachers and the much younger Gen X teachers getting ready to assume leadership roles as the boomers begin to retire As she documents each of these manifestations of postmodernist challenges to the existing modernist ideals, Gleig is careful to point out how these new developments should be seen as simultaneous continuations of, and corrections to, the established forms of convert Buddhism Her message is that Buddhism in America is growing into postmodernity it is not being overthrown and reborn into something radically new and unfamiliar It s an evolution, not a revolution.And yet, a careful reading of American Dharma leaves one with a palpable sense that Western Buddhism is, at this particular moment in the United States, experiencing severe growing pains that make its future at best unpredictable, and at worst unsustainable Especially in the latter half of the book, Gleig necessarily devotes a significantly larger portion of her narrative to the postmodernist developments this is, after all, the story she has set herself to tell in support of her thesis For readers whose practice has been grounded for many years in the modernist tradition, it s easy to feel unsettled, as if we are being completely overlooked, or even worse, being altogether set aside in the gloomy metaphor of one longtime Zen teacher and blogger, like a dinosaur.But perhaps the better perspective for us dinosaurs to hold as we read this book is one of appreciation for Gleig s in depth reporting on the various post modernist trends impacting contemporary Western Buddhism By letting usclearly see things as they really are a hallmark of wisdom in the Buddhist teachings American Dharma can help us to respondskillfully to the changes that are all but certain to come

  3. Greg Soden says:

    This book is fantastic and describes Buddhist modernism and postmodernism in a clear and enjoyable way

  4. M Spiering says:

    The first half of the book provides some quite valuable background on how the Dharma Buddhist teachings arrived in North America Though, the second half gets a little too much into the weeds of trying to dissect all the different strands of practices and communities that have since emerged and largely leaving out some very relevant ones, such as Dzogchen one of its most respected Western teachers, B Alan Wallace, is mentioned a few times, but without much context, and you won t find his na The first half of the book provides some quite valuable background on how the Dharma Buddhist teachings arrived in North America Though, the second half gets a little too much into the weeds of trying to dissect all the different strands of practices and communities that have since emerged and largely leaving out some very relevant ones, such as Dzogchen one of its most respected Western teachers, B Alan Wallace, is mentioned a few times, but without much context, and you won t find his name in the index.It s a rather scholarly book, and as such it may be of good value to those studying Buddhism as a religion philosophy or the mindfulness movement as a modern postmodern trend , but there seems to be some repetition creeping in highlighting current trends and challenges In the end, I didn t get a good sense of where things may be heading in the author s opinion perhaps that s intentional, but if so, it wasn t made very clear.My feeling is that the book could have been probably a third shorter andto the point plus another round of editing might have caught howlers like Manuel of Insight on page 126 Overall, it s a bit of a mixed effort in my view

  5. David Jones says:

    Only 77 pages in so far It s a comprehensive and playful read on the various dynamics historical and current at play with the ever transportable buddhism.I haven t read McMahan so it s a good catch up that covers a lot of ground and perhaps pays too much attention to some of the sideshow acts I m hoping it breaks out into a strong vision rather than mere catalogue The introduction says as much to pick up on the end of a modernist and describe a way forward for post colonial, post secular a Only 77 pages in so far It s a comprehensive and playful read on the various dynamics historical and current at play with the ever transportable buddhism.I haven t read McMahan so it s a good catch up that covers a lot of ground and perhaps pays too much attention to some of the sideshow acts I m hoping it breaks out into a strong vision rather than mere catalogue The introduction says as much to pick up on the end of a modernist and describe a way forward for post colonial, post secular and yes, post modern interpretation of the tradition.I m enjoying it

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