The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America
Wendy Cadge first provides a historical overview of Theravada Buddhism and considers its specific origins here in the United States. She then brings her findings to bear on issues of personal identity, immigration, cultural assimilation, and the nature of religion in everyday life. Her work is the first systematic comparison of the ways in which immigrant and convert Buddhists understand, practice, and adapt the Buddhist tradition in America. The men and women whom Cadge meets and observes speak directly to us in this work, both in their personal testimonials and as they meditate, pray, and practice Buddhism.
Creative and insightful, Heartwood will be of enormous value to sociologists of religion and anyone wishing to understand the rise of Buddhism in the Western world.
1. Arrivals and a Map of the Journey
2. The History of Theravada Buddhism in America
3. New Organizations: Wat Mongkoltepmunee (Wat Phila) and the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center (CIMC)
4. Lived Buddhism: The Construction of Teaching and Practice at Wat Phila and CIMC
5. Refuge in the Sangha: The Shape of Buddhist Communities
6. Ascribed and Achieved Buddhist Identities
7. Observations through a Gendered Lens
8. Taking Stock, Looking Forward
Appendix A. Research Methods
Appendix B. Refuges and Precepts
"A heartening look at American Buddhist institutions whose basic viability seems secure. . . . Readers get a sympathetic yet realistic assessment of the substantial gains dharma has made in the U.S."