The Americanization of Buddhism

Presented by Charles Suhor, Ph.D., independent scholar

Buddhism first came to America in the form of various traditional sects that originated in Oriental cultures. But a new phenomenon has emerged—a peculiarly American Buddhism that explores essential Buddhist ideas while respectfully putting aside fantastic doctrinal elements like hell realms and Eastern trappings like robes, shaved heads and prostrations. What does this new “free-range Buddhism” look like, and why is it especially adaptable to life in a democratic, technologically sophisticated society? The presenter will discuss several ways in which the basics of ancient Buddhist thought are connected to 21st century living. For example, openness to diversity and change is explicit in the Buddha’s statements on freedom of thought, speech and worship. Buddhist thought is compatible in key ways with current understandings in physics, biology and psychology. Buddhist techniques of meditation have been employed or adapted in a variety of religious and secular traditions, including mental health therapies. Terms like mindfulness, karma, nirvana, dependent co-arising, form and emptiness will come to play in this descriptive, not prescriptive, primer on the shape of contemporary American Buddhism.

A microphone is requested for larger venues.

Contact Charles Suhor to book this presentation
csuhor@zebra.net
(334) 284-5683