Transmission, Translation, and Transformation
Explores the many manifestations of Buddhist though and practice in America and elsewhere
The global spread of Buddhism is giving rise to new forms of religious complexity, both in the West and in Asia. This collection of essays examines the religious and cultural conversations that are occurring in this process from a diverse range of disciplinary, methodological, and literary perspectives, including philosophy, ethnography, history, and cultural studies.
The chapters in the first section explore the transmission of Buddhism to the West, ranging from the writings of one of its earliest western interpreters, the Wesleyan missionary R. Spence Hardy, to the globalization of Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation, to the development and practice of Buddhism within the American prison system. The concluding chapter of this section presents a case study of a Japanese Buddhist temple in Oregon that ultimately died out—an example of a transmission that failed.
The second section looks at the complex issues that arise in the translation of Buddhist terms, texts, and concepts from one language or cultural milieu to another. Two chapters examine the challenges confronted by those who translate Buddhist texts—one exploring the contemporary translation of Tibetan Buddhism, the second analyzing an exchange of poetry in medieval Japan. The other two chapters describe the translation of Buddhist ideas into new cultural domains in America, specifically film and sports.
The final section presents case studies in the transformation of Buddhism which is resulting from its new global interconnections. Topics include the role of women in transforming Buddhist patriarchy, Buddhist-Freudian dialogue in relationship to mourning, and the interplay between Buddhism and the environmental movement.
The book also includes images created by the noted artist Meridel Rubenstein which frame the individual chapters within a nonverbal exploration of the themes discussed.
In addition to the editors, contributors include Mark Blum, Mario D’Amato, Sue Darlington, Elizabeth Eastman, Connie Kassor, Tom Rohlich, Judith Snodgrass, Jane Stangl, and Karma Lekshe Tsomo.
"This carefully edited volume of 12 essays is a fascinating, thought-provoking, and eclectic treatment of Buddhism's transmission, translation, and transformation in the West. . . . Written in a lucid style, the essays are accesible to the general reader and provide insights for the Buddhist scholar. . . . Recommended."—Choice
"Editors Nalini Bhushan, Jay Garfield, and Abraham Zablocki have put together a dozen thoughtful essays on the intersection between traditional Buddhism and the modern West. . . The encounters discussed in the book are wonderful in their diversity."—Buddhadharma