For the past 16 years, all denominations of the Buddhist religion have experienced an unparalleled growth in the United States of America. From years 1990 through 2001, Buddhism grew to 170% and transformed into the fourth most practiced religion in America. According to Lewis (n.d.), Furthermore, in year 2001 the ARIS (American Religious Identity Survey) found that there were more Buddhists than Unitarian Universalists, Atheists, Hindus, Wiccans, New Agers or Bahais." Please join us in our discussion of the impact and practices established by Buddhism in the United States and highlight any differences in practice from that of Asian countries.
Religious Arena Impact and InfluencesBuddhism made its way to America by 1899, when two Japanese missionaries went to San Francisco to establish the Buddhist Mission of North America. By 1944, Buddhist Churches had reestablished in America. Today, San Francisco remains one of the most stable Buddhist communities in North America today.
Over the years, Buddhism has made several major impacts on the United States. One major impact was the increase of growth in the Asian population. Another impact was the religion's influence. Buddhism had migrated into a section of the world were the most predominate religions teach Christianity. Some people converted to this kind of belief to try understand their religion more. However, the effects of studying Buddhism over any other religion has not been more overwhelming than Christianity has! According to the chart posted below, Christianity continues to be the most taught and chosen religion in the United States.
The same Buddhist teachings used in Asia are the same teachings used and practiced in the United States. New Buddhists believe in compassion for all things that have life and they believe in Karma. They share the belief as noted in the King James Bible (n.d.), Do unto others as you want done unto you."Both Buddhists from Asia and America have similar beliefs and traditions. For example, the war! People are at odds with another country with totally different beliefs and views of how people should live their lives according to the American and Middle Easterners beliefs.
Some Buddhist beliefs are to use sacrificial rituals carried out to fulfill a prophecy to the spirit or belief they have chosen. Buddhism changes when it enters a new country, this is one of the reasons for the different branches of the religion. The different forms develop to be suitable, appropriate to the psychology, and the culture of the society that is serves.
In the American Culture, Buddhists often create a do it yourself practice. This practice consists of avoiding traditional Eastern Buddhisms emphasis on a teacher student relationship. Remember Buddha was a teacher of the practice and he taught his followers how to meditate and have compassion for one another. So having a do it yourself practice may be loosing a very tradition Buddha practiced.