Talk:Buddhism in the United States

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Geshe Kelsang Gyatso only Western Disciples?[edit]

I removed a false statement stating that all of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's disciples are Westerners. Geshe Kelsang has many disciples in Eastern countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore. If you need evidence of this fact please visit: [The Hong Kong Kadampa Center Page]

I also removed a false statement stating the the NKT is focused primarily on Western needs. Please show evidence that the NKT states this. Visit [] you will see that the NKT is Global Buddhism. Not Western Buddhism and not Tibetan Buddhism. Kadampa Buddhism doesn't belong to any particular culture.

Please try to check your facts before making false statements.

I added the text stating that the NKT has over 50 Centers and branches in the United States. If you would like to check the validity of this statement visit []

Page Title[edit]

Perhaps this article would be better titled "Buddhism in the United States". TheCoffee 08:25, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. (can't login right now)

My main reason for naming the article Buddhism in America rather than Buddhism in the United States was that I didn't necessarily want to exclude information relating to Canada where relevant. A more precise title might be Buddhism in the English- and French-speaking portions of North America, including Hawaii, although, in practice, I have somewhat limited information about the history of Buddhism in Canada and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to say about it (since North American Buddhist history is kind of concentrated in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York). I would appreciate it if someone else would add interesting Canada-related facts when possible. Moreover, I think that it is both un-aesthetic and slightly misleading to use the term "United States" when the subject is purely social or cultural, rather than related to politics or civics. - Nat Krause 19:56, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Clarity is what matters. I found this in the Canadian menu and thought it might need retitling Buddhism in the Americas. There is a separate article about Buddhism in Canada. I am going to move this one. CalJW 13:43, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

A couple comments about the current state of the article (basically reiterating what I said on Talk:Buddhism last week): first, the article as it stands is not finished. Close, but not quite. I'm sure there is more that can be said about Tibetan Buddhism in America, so it would be good if anybody can help expand on that subject. Also, there are a few more topics that I intend to address briefly under "trends in American Buddhism" when I get a chance. Second, those editors who actually live in North America might have a chance to take some pictures of Buddhist temples there, which we could add to illustrate the article. In the future, if we get a lot of pictures, we might have to select for quality, but, as of right now, there is plenty of empty space to add lots of pictures. Have at it. - Nat Krause 05:05, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Thoreau and the Lotus Sutra[edit]

I was going to edit the page, but since I am rather new to Wikipedia and am still learning protocol, I thought I'd try here first. While it has long been a part of American Buddhist lore that Henry David Thoreau translated a section of the Lotus Sutra, Thomas Tweed, in his book, "The American Encounter With Buddhism," cites evidence that seems to show Thoreau was not the early translator of the sutra. Tweed writes that in citing Thoreau as the translator, he, "coneinuted an interpretative tradition that stretches back to 1885, when an article in the "Journal of Speculative Philosophy" by George Willis Cooke identified Thoreau as the translator." He continues, "In 1993, Wendell Piez, a literary scholar and special collections librarian who had repeated the same mistake in print, began wondering. He did more digging and uncovered the error. Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-94), not the author of "Walden," edited and translated that important selection from Buddhist scriptures in 1844" (Preface to the 1992 edition, xvii). So, rather than Thoreau, according to Tweed's sources, it was a pioneering woman rather than Thoreau who first translated the Lotus Sutra into English. It's still a good story. --Ishinomakiben 02:46, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Ishinomakiben: I see that you haven't made any edits since March, so you probably won't see this. However, if you do return to Wikipedia, feel free to fix this kind of stuff directly—if you break it, I'll fix it, but realistically there are others new editors who are much more likely to be disruptive than you. Anyway, I'll go ahead and make changes to this article as per your comments here. - Nat Krause 04:59, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

First Buddhist High School in the United States[edit]

The first Buddhist high school in the United States is not the Pacific Buddhist Academy, which was founded in 2003. Rather, that disctiction belongs to the Developing Virtue Secondary School, in Ukiah, CA - I should know - I've been attending the school, and I know graduates of the school who graduated in the 1980s - twenty years before the Pacific Buddhist Academy was founded. The website for the school is at The elementary school at the City was founded even earlier, in San Francisco in 1976 and just celebrated their 30th Anniversary last week.

Kungming2 03:33, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Okay, good info. Thanks. - Nat Krause(Talk!) 19:44, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Comment on racism in American Buddhist community[edit]

I found the following rather idiotic:

A variety of ideas have been broached regarding the nature, causes, and significance of this racial uniformity. A key question is the degree of importance ascribed to discrimination, which is suggested to be mostly unconscious, on the part of white converts toward potential minority converts .

Only the most unaware observer of Asians in America, adherents of several religions including Buddhism, could fail to witness a strong strain of tension with African-Americans in whatever community in the US they live in. The argument isn't that it's the fault of Buddhism but other cultural factors that cause this to occur. It isn't always the 'white man' who's at fault. 17:45, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, first off, thanks for beginning your comments with personal insults. That's a sure way to get things going right. Anyway, it's not clear to me what you disagree with here. "A key question is the degree of importance ascribed to discrimination ... on the part of white converts toward potential minority converts." Your answer to this is that it isn't always the white man who's at fault. That's a reasonable answer, but the question is still important.—Nat Krause(Talk!) 22:17, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
There was no personal attack on anyone in particular, but the tone was harsh I'll admit. Just angry at yet another silly 'it's the white guys fault' speculation and now in regards to Buddhism! While I have criticisms of European descendents who practice Buddhism, I'd suggest that those same adherents are probably not typically practitioners of racial discrimination. I do stand by the comment that I found the blame to be 'suggest to be mostly unconscious, on the part of the white converts...'. The question is indeed important, but to throw out the 'white man' as villian without mentioning the often observed and commented on Asian-American [including Buddhist adherents] hostility towards African-Americans seems selective and dubious. 04:33, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
I would like to do some work on, and reorganizing of this section. I'm on the fence about the statement quoted above (I'm an African-American buddhist, just to set the record straight): I think the section is a bit too generalized, with the aforementioned bit a bit more divisive than it needs to be. However, the racial divide issue is coming up with some regularity in western Buddhist thought and discussion, so it is definitely a valid topic for some elaboration here.
It should be noted that SGI is also not without their controversies, so I'd like to get the section as NPOV as possible. I'm pulling source material together, so this may be a gradual and ongoing upgrade.
Davidals 02:04, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Immigrant Buddhist and the Buddhist Churches of America[edit]

A couple of things strike me here as particularly relevant:

"The name Buddhist Churches of America was adopted at Topaz Relocation Center in Utah; the use of the word “church”, which normally implies a Christian house of worship, was significant."

First, while it is true that the North American Buddhist Association changed its name to the Buddhist Churches of America while interred during World War II, I think the significance of this is up for debate. Every "temple" that the NABA founded prior to the war was called a "church" because the Hongonji leadership back in Japan would not authorize any building outside of Japan to be called a "temple," (i.e., ji [字]). This has led some scholars who don't hold the views of Prebish, et al, to question where the motivation for the BCA's "Americanization" came from: America? Or Japan? Whose decision was it to call the organization "churches" and why? I think these are important questions that need to be asked when writing about the history of American Buddhism.

"However, since 1980, BCA membership has declined markedly."

Second, in doing research for my dissertation, I've spoken with a handful of BCA ministers who vehemently refute this claim. The reason they believe that members is not declining is because of the manner in which the BCA counts members. Each individual church pays dues to the parent organization based on its number of members. However, very often local churches will undercount their members so as to avoid giving more money to the national organization. Often times, they will refrain from counting senior members who get sizable discounts on membership. So, on paper, it looks like the number of members is declining. But in actuality the number is rather stable, but underreported.

Obviously, I don't have a reference for this as my research is still on-going. But, again, I think when talking about religion in America, and particularly Buddhism, we need to keep in mind how we do the counting. Who's a "Buddhist"? How do we determine membership? And what do these assumption do to the "numbers"? Are the numbers even relevant? and so on.

Djbuddha 21:52, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Soka Gakkai[edit]

The Soka Gakkai section really needs to be cleaned up. Let's start with the first paragraph:

"here is only one Buddhist group in North America which has focused on recruiting converts from among the general public and been successful: Soka Gakkai, a Japan-based society which promotes Nichiren Buddhism."

As an American Buddhist who is not a Soka Gakkai member goes to a pretty much entirely non-Asian temple, I find this to be a bit... shall we say... wrong? In fact, it seems contradictory to the statement in the Tibetan Buddhist section: "Also quite active in the United States is the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) established by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. An offshoot of the Gelug school founded in the 1990s in the UK, the NKT has over 50 Kadampa (NKT) Buddhist Centers and branches in the United States. Most members of the organization are Westerners..."

It's not just wrong its tone, it's wrong it its facts. I'm deleting this.

The rest of the paragraph reads more like an advertisement for Soka Gakkai than information. It has cites no sources, for example. I'm going to mark it as unsourced.

--Watchreader (talk) 06:10, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Watchreader. While Most of what's written here re: Soka Gakkai are claims I've seen repeated elsewhere (Buddhadharma or Tricycle magazines, for example) - they still need proper citations for this entry, otherwise, as Watchreader says, this simply reads like an advert for the group. Of course, even when citations are found and added (which I'm sure they will be) - the wording should be changed to reflect that these are "claims" made by S.G. rather than externally verifiable facts. Watchreader makes an excellent point wrt just one of their claims, and how it doesn't quite add up. Jikaku (talk) 12:05, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Citations for SGI are done - all by books whose authors have scholastic credibility and are not Soka Gakkai members —Preceding unsigned comment added by Redcoltken sn (talkcontribs) 10:06, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Why is Soka Gakkai under the immigrant Buddhism section? It should be under an export Buddhism section. It is a form of Buddhism thay grows by conversion rather than immigration and is exported from the Japan branch rather than imported in the rest of the world. 2601:D:3582:2C0:A4D4:DA1E:17AF:EA27 (talk) 03:05, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Buddhist population in US[edit]

The intro says "...accounting for 0.9% of the US population making it the fourth largest belief-set behind Christianity, Judaism and Nonreligious". This is clearly wrong, since Islam is certainly ahead of Buddhism - see [1] which claims the US Muslim population at between 2.5 and 7 million. (talk) 12:51, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Like it our not that is what the cited survey says, so changing the text to disagree with the source it not a good idea. Especially since this is given further on with the caveat that numbers are hard to get, I will try to put a more general statement in the lead without resorting to weasel words. My guess is that many Muslims would be reluctant to officially declare their religion, given what happened to those who said they were Japanese in 1940, but that is only speculation. Need to apply the usual rules of citing sources. There should be some. Generally this article needs much cleanup, it seems to attracted all sorts of different tidbits. W Nowicki (talk) 23:05, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

OK, I did a round of editing, removing many peacock words, redundancies, filled out citations, etc. but there are still many unsourced statements and many sources are self-published web sites. Please work to keep the quality up. It might be a good idea for someone who knows the subject matter better to read through and make sure I did not introduce any inaccuracies. Thanks. W Nowicki (talk) 21:00, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Separate "Zen in the USA" page[edit]

How about splitting the Zen-contents to a separate page, akin to Chinese Chán and Japanese Zen, leaving a summary at this page? The Zen-content is disproportionaly large now. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 14:28, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi, Joshua Jonathan. I find the maze of articles on Buddhism confusing and don't think another fork is absolutely necessary. Also where do you derive the section heading "Native American..."? I come from Minnesota where such a title means American Indian. -SusanLesch (talk) 14:48, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi Susan. I already thought that "Native" was not the correct word; I'm Dutch, so there are subtilities which unfortunately are lost on me... As for the "maze of articles": it's not soemthing that I really deem necessary; it's just personal preference. Though, there is a precedence on the general Zen-article, which became sort of a "portal", with Chinese Chán and Japanese Zen as specific articles. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 19:27, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Joshua Jonathan, you beat me back here. Sorry about changing my mind. I thought about your suggestion today and decided that you should go for it! "Zen in the USA" seems like a good topic. -SusanLesch (talk) 00:29, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh? I'm surprised! By the way, I like your pictures. Rodin at the zazen-page gave me a good laugh. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 04:38, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Do you go by the name Joshua? Or something else? -SusanLesch (talk) 15:54, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Joshua Jonathan is the nickname. "Jos" once was a nickname at school, and "Jonathan" comes from a comic. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 17:31, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

I might call you "Jos" though! The name of a mathematician I used to know. Your page looks done already. -SusanLesch (talk) 21:48, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Chinese Chan[edit]

Ven. Hsuan Hua - regarding the photo.. he died in 1995. So the caption in you article reads Ven. Hsuan Hua in 2010. Please change that. [1] --VenHongyang (talk) 16:39, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

I've updated the thumbnail description. Thanks for pointing this out. Best regards. Tengu800 20:11, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Charismatic authority[edit]

Hi Susan. In inserted the header "charismatic authority" a while ago, to give a more "neutral" header for this section. As far as I know the listing-up of misbehaving teachers has been a point of discussion at other pages. I'm pro mentioning these issues, and even appreciate it that there is a list of misbehaving teachers, but I reckoned that it might be better to have a header which also links this issue to a theoretical background that explains part of the issue. But, of course, that's my opinion, and other views might be acceptable as well. Greetings, Joshua Jonathan (talk) 06:19, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Hi. I think it looks fine now. If you like you can reinsert the heading. Sorry I don't have any experience with comments on lists, but as long as we adhere to BLP requirements this should be fine because most historical misbehaving is very well known. -SusanLesch (talk) 20:55, 27 December 2012 (UTC)