It was perhaps the most successful of Japan’s new religious movements, which enjoyed tremendous growth after the end of the Second World War. In 1879, Olcott and Blavatsky travelled to India and then, in 1880, to Sri Lanka, where they were met enthusiastically by local Buddhists, who saw them as allies against an aggressive Christian missionary movement. Shortly before Sokei-an’s death in 1945, he and Everett would wed, at which point she took the name Ruth Fuller Sasaki. American and Asian Buddhists built institutions and communities of practice spanning multiple generations.... Read more about Building “American Buddhism”, The Immigration Act of 1965, the fall of Saigon in 1975, and the overthrow of Pol Pot in 1979 brought new waves of Asian immigration to cities in the United States. Buddhism is a religion originating from Asia that has gained popularity worldwide. He established a series of what he named Dharmadhatu meditation centers, which were eventually organized under a national umbrella group called Vajradhatu (later to become Shambhala International). After completing his training and being ordained in 1928, he returned to New York to teach. A 2010 Pew Research Center survey recorded Buddhism as the fourth largest religion in the United States after Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism, with 1.2% of the nation identifying as Buddhist. His Indian readings may have influenced his later experiments in simple living: at one point in Walden he wrote: “I realized what the Orientals meant by contemplation and the forsaking of works.” The poet Walt Whitman also admitted to an influence of Indian religion on his writings. Another influential Japanese Zen teacher was Taizan Maezumi, who arrived as a young priest to serve at Zenshuji, the North American Soto sect headquarters in Los Angeles, in 1956. Thus, it can be seen as having some, currently very limited, aspects of an export Buddhist institution. ... Read more about Discrimination and Exclusion, On the East Coast, interest in Buddhism rose in the 1870s through the influence of prominent figures like Henry David Thoreau and H.P. Vipassana, also referred to by the rough translation “insight meditation” is an ancient meditative practice described in the Pali Canon of the Theravada school of Buddhism, and in similar scriptures of other schools. In the first half of the 20th century, it would prove to be Buddhist teachers from Japan who played the most active role in disseminating Buddhism to the American public, perhaps because Japan was the most developed and self-confident Buddhist country at the time. On May 25 of that year, Olcott and Blavatsky took the pancasila vows of a lay Buddhist before a monk and a large crowd of onlookers. The affiliated Kwan Um School now has more than 100 Zen centers on six continents. Perhaps the most significant of these began in 334 BC, early in the history of Buddhism, when the Macedonian king Alexander the Great conquered most of Central Asia. After serving as a temple priest in Japan, Suzuki requested to be sent to America, and, in 1959, at the age of 54, he travelled to San Francisco to manage Sokoji, the city’s Soto Sect mission. Khandro Rinpoche is a modern female Tibetan teacher who has a strong presence in America. Enlightenment is something that occurs from within and can therefore be found wherever you choose to hang your hat, so to speak. These temples were often the subject of suspicion and ignorance by the rest of the population, and were dismissively referred to as joss houses. Buddhist delegates included Soyen Shaku, a Japanese Zen abbott; Zenshiro Noguchi, a Japanese translator; Anagarika Dharmapala, a Sri Lankan associate of H. S. Olcott’s; and Chandradat Chudhadharn, a brother of King Chulalongkorn of Thailand. Occasional intersections between Western civilization and the Buddhist world have been occurring for thousands of years. It also began to publish two periodicals, one in Japanese and one in English. He was later instrumental in establishing the Kuroda Institute and the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, the latter an organization of American teachers with ties to the Soto tradition. SGI-USA, or Soka Gakkai International, is a world peace Buddhist organization that teaches the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to bring forth the courage, compassion, and wisdom within all people to surmount life's obstacles. Each episode shares a story about a regular person overcoming their obstacles through the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and taking action to face their obstacles. During the 1960s and 1970s, the BCA was in a growth phase and was very successful at fund-raising. He lived for nine months in their home near San Francisco, where he established a small zendo in their home and gave regular zazen lessons, making him the first Zen Buddhist priest to teach in North America. The Parliament provided the first major public forum from which Buddhists could address themselves directly to the Western public; Dharmapala was particularly effective in this role because he spoke fluent English. Shaku instead recommended Suzuki, then a young scholar and former disciple of his. In addition to being thoroughly updated, The Complete Guide to Buddhist America contains more than twice the number of … While this trend was very significant in the development of Mahayana Buddhism, it has yet to be established that it made a corresponding impact on Western thought. Whatever the total number, it appears that roughly 75 to 80 percent of Buddhists in the U.S. are of Asian descent and inherited Buddhism as a family tradition; the remaining 20 to 25 percent are American converts. Although it continues to cater primarily to Chinese Americans, it also has regular services and outreach programs in English. This short sojourn eventually produced an effect on American Buddhism that continues to the present. Sasaki, better known under his monastic name, Sokei-an, spent a few years wandering the west coast of the United States, at one point living among American Indians near Seattle, and reached New York City in 1916. Joseph Goldstein, after journeying to Southeast Asia with the Peace Corps, had lived in Bodhgaya, where he was a student of Anagarika Munindra, the head monk of Mahabodhi Temple and himself a student of Māhāsai Sayādaw’s. Also, in 1927, the Soto sect of Japanese Zen opened its own mission with Zenshuji temple in Los Angeles, although it did not make attempts at the time to attract non-Japanese members. Researchers and casual observers alike report that the vast majority of American converts practicing at Buddhist centers are white people with Christian or Jewish backgrounds. Dr. Paul Carus, a German-American philosopher and theologian, was at work on a more scholarly prose treatment of the same subject. Not all the successful Zen teachers in the United States have been from Japanese traditions. Discussion about Buddhism in America has sometimes focused on the issue of the visible ethnic divide separating ethnic Buddhist congregations from import Buddhist groups. The first four-year Buddhist college in the U.S. was the Naropa Institute (now Naropa University), which was founded in 1974 by Chögyam Trungpa.
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