In May 1987, Ven. Theravada is the dominant form of Buddhism in most of southeast Asia, including Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.It claims about 100 million adherents worldwide. In 1984 these sixteen groups met in eight states, while in 1989 the ninety groups listed met in thirty-two states. Several years after his teacher’s death, Thanissaro Bhikkhu returned to the United States. Im Visuddhimagga (XIV, 32), dem systematischen Hauptwerk des Theravâdabuddhismus aus dem 5. It was at the Naropa Institute in the summer of 1974 that Jack Kornfield met Joseph Goldstein and the two formed a relationship that shaped much of the way Theravada Buddhism was taught to white people in the United States for the next decade. Sharon Salzberg, the third founding teacher of IMS, returned after studying Buddhism with teachers in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and Burma. In 1967 the Vihara purchased a building at 5017 16th Street NW from the government of Thailand for a reduced price, where people continue to meet today. Paper $22.50 ISBN: 0-226-08900-2. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the University of Chicago Press. This temple joined a Burmese temple that already existed in Los Angeles and Taungpulu Kaba-Aye Vihara in Boulder Creek, California. The Sri Lankan-born monk, Ven. Though California still boasts a high concentration of Buddhists, they can be found across the country. While Greeks in the east discovered Buddhism and took to the faith, it took much longer for it to spread farther west. While the first Theravada Buddhist organizations founded largely by Asians and white Americans had little contact with one another, they occasionally shared teachers and influenced each other in unexpected ways. Born in 1864 in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), Don David Hewavitharne became a celibate layman and adopted the title Anagarika Dharmapala, meaning “homeless one,” “guardian of the Dharma.” In the late 1970s, the Khmer Rouge regime systematically killed Buddhist monks throughout their reign of terror in Cambodia, and a few of the surviving monks arrived in the United States and were involved in the construction of early temples. 6). Maha Prasert, the Thai abbot of Wat Buddhanusorn in Freemont, California, has been a friend to the monastery. They then brought this information to the west and wrote detailed accounts. Monks from Sri Lanka supported by local lay practitioners founded the Theravada Buddhist Community of Costa Rica in 2012. Theravada Buddhism is one branch of Buddhism that arrived in the United States since 1965. Download (PDF) View full album. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'buddhismzone_org-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_14',106,'0','0']));One of the key differences in American Buddhism is in practice. Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thera returned to Sri Lanka and collected funds for the temple from the Sasana Sevaka Society, an organization of Sinhalese lay Buddhists, and from Sri Lankans and Americans living in the United States. Bhante Gunaratana was appointed as the Buddhist chaplain at American University in 1974 and Bhante Uparatana in 1989. The three largest categories are Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. We had no sense of history. Another Burmese monk, the Most Venerable Taungpulu Kaba-Aye Sayadaw, also came to the United States in 1978 at the invitation of Rina Sircar, a woman born to Indian parents in Burma who had come to the States to pursue graduate study. The mind is everything. These immigrants brought with them many varied forms of Buddhism. Much of the material in the Canon is not specifically "Theravādan", but the collection of teachings that this school's adherents preserved from the early, non-sectarian body of teachings. The numbers of retreats offered and practitioners sitting retreats at IMS increased throughout the 1980s, and IMS experienced some growing pains as tensions developed around how the center should institutionalize and plan for the future, financially and otherwise. Buddhism has become very popular across the world, including in the West. Ananda, and Ven. Bibliovault The combination of immigration and conversion that led Buddhism in general to grow so dramatically in the twentieth century has led many researchers to assert that there is not one but two Buddhisms in America—the Buddhism of immigrants and the Buddhism of converts. Also in the late 1960s, Thai and American Buddhists founded the Buddhist Study Center in New York, which led many years later to the founding of Wat Vajiradhammapadip, a Thai Buddhist temple in New York. A group of lay supporters in California organized themselves into the Sanghapala Foundation, and in 1995 Ajahn Amaro and three other monks spent the three-month rain retreats in tents at Bell Springs Hermitage north of San Francisco. Today Theravada Buddhists number well over 100 million worldwide. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. It is sometimes called Southern Buddhism and is one of the largest subdivisions of Buddhism. It is a belief system that can easily be personally practiced. The U.S. presents a strikingly new and different environment for Buddhists, leading to a unique history and a continuing process of development as Buddhism and America come to grips with each other. One year later they began to build, but ran into numerous practical problems. The Theravada, literally “The Way of the Elders,” is the school of Buddhism most prominent today in the countries of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. Theravada Buddhism really began to take root in America in the 1960s. As it gained adherents, the teachings continued to evolve and flourish in diverse forms. As in Los Angeles, a group of Thai lay people in Washington, D.C., began to raise funds for a temple of their own, and two Thai monks took up residence there in 1974. Early Christian theologians brought back much knowledge of the Buddhist faith, particularly the Jesuits. Whereas there were five Thai temples in the United States in 1980 for example, there were more than forty at the end of the decade (fig. Like immigrants from Thailand, temples started by Thai-born people were initially concentrated on the East and West Coasts, with the majority in California. In 1986, responsibility for administrative, policy, and fiscal matters related to IMS was placed in the hands of nine board members selected from the community. American Buddhism is its own unique iteration of the ideas of the Buddha. The new monastery was named Abhayagiri, meaning “fearless mountain” after the ancient monastery in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, where Theravada and Mahayana monks once lived together. Most Thai temples followed similar patterns in their development. Ven. Dhammaduta: The Theravada Bhikkhu Sangha. A Theravada Buddhist Center in Chisago City, supported by the Theravada Dhamma Society of America founded by Ashin Dr. Nyanissara. And there was very much a sense of, well, we’re here today and may not be here tomorrow.…And things went on like that for many years. Ajahn Amaro describes the Theravadin tradition as “very workable” and he works both with Asians and Americans in the United States. One is that it is … While white people have often attended Asian temples, particularly Thai temples, as the spouses and family members of Asians, the white people involved in these two temples were involved without a familial connection. By the end of the decade, funds were being raised, programs were being held elsewhere around San Francisco, and the number of small meditation groups that had grown out of existing programs had skyrocketed. However, outside this small group of followers, there was not much exposure to Buddhism in the rest of the west. Trancendentalists and others were open to the ideas of Buddhism and also contributed to the spread of these ideas. According to Peter Harvey: At temples led by white monastics, Asian and white monastics together, and Asian monastics alone across the country, boys and men of all ages were ordained for varying periods of time throughout the 1990s. The questions the teachers concerned themselves with in the early years, Sharon Salzberg remembers, were about what it meant to take the Buddhist tradition, steeped in the imagery and metaphor of Asia, to try to find its unchanging essence, and then to express that essence in the imagery of a new time and place: “We are discovering new metaphors,” Salzberg has written, “that connect us to a reality and a teaching that is timeless and universal.” Connections between the teachers at IMS and their teachers in Asia were strong and lasting. Rinzai was the main form of Zen Buddhism practiced in the United States in the early years. It emphasizes adherence to the teachings of the Pali Canon — the earliest recorded teachings attributed to the Buddha — and its commentaries. The leadership saw a master plan and new leadership going hand in hand and described IMS as an “adolescent approaching adulthood.” The future direction of IMS was also influenced in the 1980s by founding teacher Jack Kornfield’s decision to leave IMS for California in the fall of 1984. Like all forms of Buddhism, American Buddhism has its own distinct flavor. Between 1990 and 1995, Ajahn Amaro visited the United States several times to teach at various Buddhist organizations. An early challenge came from Rev. For many in America, this is the most visible form of Buddhism. I think now as we start this place we have a greater sense of history and of planting seeds with this center that will be long enduring and have a very great impact on the transmission of those teachings to this country.” With the initial encouragement of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, John Bullitt started Access to Insight in the early 1990s, a Web site that houses more than seven hundred suttas and several hundred articles and books about Theravada Buddhism. Like all belief systems, Buddhism does not remain unchanged as the ideas spread. There are practicing Buddhists in every country on the globe. Word of the temple spread in an organic way, Ajahn Amaro says, and now there is “a lot of ease between the two groups [Asian and American]. At IMS, an executive director was appointed in 1990, and the center became more professionally organized and operated. It is a religious tradition with roots that go far back to the early days of Buddhism 25 centuries ago. Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro are co-abbots of the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, north of San Francisco, in Redwood Valley (Mendocino County), California. wird der buddhistische Weg zur Erlösung im Bild eines Baumes dargestellt: den Boden bildet das theoretische Kennenlernen … The Washington Buddhist Vihara began in Washington, D.C., in 1966 following the 1964 visit of Sri Lankan monk Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thera. The viharas established by the Sri Lankans may be less numerous but appear to be more successful in teaching the Dhamma to native Americans. Dhammaratana (teacher), Ven. For the first few years, the temple was attended mainly by white people, and then later by Thai, Lao, and Cambodians. Thai forest monk Ajahn Chah, Burmese monks Ven. American Buddhism shares many commonalities with Asian Buddhism, but it also has its own distinctive flair. The Bhavana Society, a Theravada community located in the foothills of rural West Virginia, is dedicated to preserving the world’s oldest surviving school of Buddhism, yet its approach to spiritual outreach––the society has Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Linkedin pages, and its quarterly newsletter features a Q&A entitled “Ask Bhante G”––is decidedly modern. The times have changed a lot since then and our relationship to the teachings and the traditions have changed a lot. There are practicing Buddhists in every country on the globe. These two are the most commonly practiced schools of American Buddhism. [1] For many centuries, Theravada has been the predominant religion of continental Southeast Asia (Thailand, Myanmar/Burma, Cambodia, and Laos) and Sri Lanka. “It was a conscious choice to have it not become a center where even very enlightened teachers from a range of traditions would come,” Goldstein remembers. There are many reasons that the Buddhist teachings appeal to people in America. These western minds were influenced by the teachings of the Buddha and his followers. Since 1976, Goenka has been based in India, and in 1982 he began to appoint assistant teachers who were born and raised in the West. However, in some Latin American countries, there is another trend related to Theravada Buddhism, which is in tune with the general evolution of Western Buddhism in the last decades: the growing interest in contemplation. Univ. Theravada is one of the three main branches of Buddhism. These systems of belief were largely based in family traditions. In June 1971 a mission of Thai monks led by Ven. There was distinct Greco-Buddhist art and writing. This is Buddhism distilled through American intellectuals and comes almost entirely from source material from these colonies. Havanpola Ratanasara of the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California officiated. In 1972, Ven. HEARTWOOD: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America Wendy Cadge, Author. The first … Through these famous proponents, many tenets of Zen Buddhism were transmitted to a greater segment of society. Immigrant Buddhism is, as the name implies, the form of Buddhism brought to America by immigrants. American Buddhist women have been active in movements to revive the ordination lineages of Buddhist nuns in the Theravada and Vajrayana traditions. Many who took to the teachings and practices of Theravada set up schools and areas for practice around the country. I would say let’s adapt the culture and keep this as we had it.” In addition to the center in Shelburne Falls, the California center called Dhamma Mahavana was started by students of Goenka in 1983. Many took loans from banks to continue this construction and many remain in debt today. Many temples remain in these original buildings now, while others, particularly those that continued to accumulate financial resources, purchased new buildings or land and often began to build Thai-style buildings. Chr.). There is a strong female tolerance and democratic struggle in the operation of American Buddhist organizations. Retreats typically ran for ten days during which participants maintained complete silence. This ethnography opens a window onto two communities of Theravada Buddhists in contemporary America: one outside Philadelphia that is composed largely of Thai immigrants and one outside Boston that consists mainly of white converts. In the United States, Theravada Buddhism has had its greatest growth since the 1960s when Euro-Americans started practicing vipassana, or “insight meditation.” At the same time, large numbers of immigrants from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and other traditional Theravadin countries have come to the United States. The monastic form is important, he thinks: “People have to understand that renunciation and celibacy are not some kind of weird quirks left over from a spiritual authoritarian.…Why was the Buddha a monk? Women in Buddhism. What you think you become. The Cambodian Buddhist Society’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1979 they began to organize among themselves, and in 1980 Lao monks formed a small community in a rental property. Preserving the monastic form, or monkhood, as at Wat Metta, is central to preserving the dhamma, Thanissaro Bhikkhu argues. Immigrants brought these varied forms to America. The group of white people who would form the first vipassana meditation retreat center in the United States met, and the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) was born. Zen Buddhism is a Japanese tradition that came to America during one of the early waves of Asian immigration. After returning from Asia and before helping to start IMS, Jack Kornfield completed a PhD in clinical psychology. Another Sri Lankan monk, Ven. Buddhism in America is incredibly varied with belief systems that take their root from all across Asia. Jhdt n. Chr. The Washington Buddhist Vihara has been an international temple from the beginning, where services are held in English and Buddhists and friends of Buddhism from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Burma, and America are included among the temple’s regular members. He celebrated in a park with a few people from the Sri Lankan Embassy and, after conversations with an officer from the embassy, decided to begin a temple in the United States. The Lao Buddhist Association purchased a house and one-acre lot in 1980 where services were held, but problems with zoning regulations led the temple to relocate several years later. Ananda Mangala Thera, a Sri Lankan monk who had been living in Singapore, visited Los Angeles and was asked by a handful of Sri Lankan families to start a Buddhist society. Piyananda was expelled from the temple. The Buddha was an enlightened person, Goenka and his followers argue, so nothing from him needs to be changed. Before 1980, Lao people in the Washington, D.C., area attended Wat Thai D.C. or other centers. Vajiradhammapadip Temple in New York, Wat Buddhawararam in Denver, and Wat Dhammaram in Chicago were also started before 1979. As the name suggests, it regards itself as the school most faithful to the teachings that have been passed down through the generations. The aim of this article is to explain how the beginning of Buddhism and evaluation in America. Theravada Buddhism- A Summary Theravada Buddhism in North America is primarily associated with Southeast Asian Americans. At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, largely white native-born Americans who would start this organization were returning from their travels in Asia. Phrakhru Vajirathammasophon of Wat Vajirathamsathit in Thailand was invited to Los Angeles to teach and perform Buddhist ceremonies. It is sometimes called Southern Buddhism and is one of the largest subdivisions of Buddhism. The Thai community formed the Thai-American Buddhist Association that year, and three additional monks visited the United States to plan the founding of a temple. Theravada Buddhism is a perfect example of the life that people want to live because those who follow it do not need to worry about the basic necessities of life but are still able to experience life simply and with meaning. Many more Thais and Sri Lankans were involved in these two temples than white Americans, and there was little evidence that the white Americans had much say in the leadership of the temple. First popularized for lay people in Burma, this form of meditation emphasizes being aware and present with physical and mental experiences as they are happening so as to see things clearly as they are. 1 review of Theravada Buddhist Society of America "Just new, nice, clean. The monastery opened in June 1996 with Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Pasanno, a Canadian, as the co-abbots. American Buddhism is more inclusive and democratic. Shibaya, a Japanese man, had previously ordained in the Mahayana school of Buddhism. Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, and other teachers involved with IMS spent time at Goenka centers in India in the 1970s. Copyright notice: Excerpt from pages 24-43 of Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America by Wendy Cadge, published by the University of Chicago Press. Theravada Buddhism is strongest in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Burma (Myanmar). Site Map Born in 1864 in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), Don David Hewavitharne became a celibate layman and adopted the title Anagarika Dharmapala, meaning “homeless one,” “guardian of the Dharma.” Heavily influenced by Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907) and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891), Theosophists who first visited India and Ceylon from America in 1878 and 1880, Dharmapala spent his life spreading Buddhism around the world. 1 Reviews (650) 712-9165 Website. Phra Dhammakosacharn arrived in Los Angeles, and lay people began to raise funds to purchase land. This fascinating ethnography opens a window onto two communities of Theravada Buddhists in contemporary America: one outside Philadelphia that is composed largely of Thai immigrants and one outside Boston that consists mainly of white converts. As waves of Asian immigrants came to America in the late 1800s, Americans began to get exposure to Buddhist beliefs. In January 2001 the Vihara housed four monks, two from Sri Lanka, one from Nepal, and one white American ordained in San Francisco according to the Burmese tradition. During this period, the Theosophical Society, which teaches the unity of all religions, also helped to spread some elements of Buddhist teachings in America. Assistant teachers are present at each course to guide students in their practice, but Goenka himself remains the teacher, and no other methods, techniques, or teachings are supported on retreats. This likely occurred because the monks and first-generation immigrants involved with Thai, Sri Lanka, and Burmese temples had a better command of English and were more assimilated to U.S. society than the monks and lay practitioners at Lao and Cambodian temples. Additionally, many masters of some of the biggest branches of Buddhism have immigrated to America. In 1979 Mahasi Sayadaw came to the United States with U Silananda and U Kelatha, in part in response to an invitation from IMS to lead a retreat there. Financial and practical support from Thais, Laotians, and Americans has been central to the development of the temple. They did not see Buddhism as a pagan religion that could easily be stamped out. “Thera” heißt in der alten indischen Sprache Pali “Alt”, “Vada” Lehre. A conflict developed in the late 1970s over who was in control of the temple, and Ven. Immigration from Theravada Buddhist countries continued in the 1980s, particularly from Cambodia and Laos, and the number of temples in each of the five Asian groups continued to increase. He had been in the United States for ten years before he started the center, largely through a donation from an American Buddhist practitioner. In their day-to-day lives, lay Asians typically attended the temple of their home country, and if there was no temple, they attended other Asian temples despite the fact that they may not have understood some of the service. A group of lay people in a given city who were interested in building a temple first formed a committee to consider the issues involved. Much of the chanting and ritual at Asian temples is conducted in Pali, the scriptural language of Theravada Buddhism. Jack Kornfield returned to the States as a monk in 1972 after spending several years in the Peace Corps and in various temples and monasteries in Asia. Community service and other forms of social assistance have a strong and deep tradition in American Buddhism. They saw similarities in the teachings of Buddhism, but also felt that it had been “corrupted by the devil.”. We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. eingeführt worden, und zwar unter dem Patronat des damaligen Herrschers, König Devanampiyatissa (250-210 v. Monks from many countries have lived or stayed at the Vihara over the years. Though it is impossible to count, there are some estimates that put the number of American Buddhists at 5 million. Full Theravada ordination for women in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Burma, and Cambodia ended in the eleventh century. While some people who studied in the Goenka tradition mixed the teachings with ideas from other traditions, others like Goenka himself wanted to keep the teachings pure and free from other influences. Scott Joseph DuPrez, a native Californian, had received his samanera, or first level of ordination into the monkhood, in Sri Lanka in 1975, taking the name Yogavacara Rahula. 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