|Published online: April 28, 2014||$US5.00|
This paper is based on my field research done in Japan and the mainland US in 2009 and Hawaii in 2010. This research examines how religion promotes social interactions with society and how contextualization of religious practices helps in understanding different perspectives. These play a role in ensuring continuity of the group following unique religious traditions and practices. The study evaluates the spiritual transition of Buddhism from Japan to Hawaii and mainland US, its survival as a continuous process in an environment of restricted mobility. During World War II, in Hawaii, only Buddhist priests were sent to internment camps while priest families took care of the temples; therefore the continuity of Buddhism prevailed. In the mainland US all people of Japanese origin were sent to internment camp; this caused a serious setback to Buddhism. These political decisions resulted in different Buddhist practices in the regions. Social and religious expectations of society and complex relationships resulted in two streams. The desire for assimilation motivated Asian Buddhists to adopt aspects of the majority religion, while American sensibility exposed to Buddhism reflected on silent contemplation, search for insight, self-effort and desire to practice Buddhism as in Japan. Social outreach and diminished importance of ordination became prominent too. This paper contends that history and political decisions influence growth of religion and shape its trajectory in the future.
|Keywords:||Buddhism, Soto Zen, Hawaii, Religious Traditions, Religious Practices|
The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 3, Issue 4, May 2014, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 28, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 286.634KB)).
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion, American Public University, Bloomington, IN, USA