Welcome to the Institute of Buddhist Studies Home

Thank you!

The Institute of Buddhist Studies would like to thank all the panelists, participants, and guests who made the 2010 Buddhism Without Borders Conference such a wonderful success!

Overview | Conference Schedule | Paper Abstracts | Film Screening |

Buddhism without Borders: Contemporary Developments of Buddhism in the West

at the Institute of Buddhist Studies
Berkeley, California
March 18 - 21, 2010

Panel IV: Identifying Buddhists, Buddhist Identity, 9:30 - 12:30

Two Buddhisms, Three Buddhisms, and Racism

Wakoh Shannon Hickey, Duke University

Over the past several decades, observers of American Buddhism have created numerous typologies to describe different categories of Buddhists in the United States. These taxonomies use different criteria to categorize groups: style of practice, degree of institutional stability, mode of transmission to the U.S., ethnicity, etc. Each reveals some features of American Buddhism and obscures others. None accounts adequately for hybrids or for long-term changes within categories. Most include a divide between convert Buddhists, characterized as predominantly Caucasian, and "heritage" or "ethnic" Buddhists, characterized as Asian immigrants and refugees, as well as their descendants. This article examines several typologies, and considers two dynamics: the effects of white racism on the development of American Buddhist communities; and the effects of unconscious white privilege in scholarly discourse about these communities. It also proposes other ways to conceptualize the diverse forms of Buddhism in the United States.

« previous   |   next »