The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844-1912

By Thomas A. Tweed,

Book cover of The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844-1912: Victorian Culture and the Limits of Dissent

Book description

This work examines 19th-century America's encounter with one of the world's major religions. Exploring the debates about Buddhism that followed upon its introduction to the USA, the author shows what happened when the transplanted religious movement came into contact with America's established culture and fundamentally different Protestant tradition. The text,…

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Why read it?

1 author picked The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844-1912 as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I love this warm-hearted and rich account of the first Americans to become Buddhist: the romantics who fell in love with Asian cultures, the rationalists who thought of Buddhism as a science or philosophy of human existence, and the esotericists who sought magical powers and powerful initiations. From Lafcadio Hearn’s celebration of “old Japan” to Countess Canavarro who set up a nun’s order in Sri Lanka, via Theosophists, vegetarians, and atheists, this book is a fantastic collection of people’s lives which were both transformed by meeting Buddhism and yet remained distinctively American even in their new form.   

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