The Making of Buddhist Modernism (Google eBook)

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Oxford University Press, Oct 17, 2008 - Social Science - 320 pages
2 Reviews
A great deal of Buddhist literature and scholarly writing about Buddhism of the past 150 years reflects, and indeed constructs, a historically unique modern Buddhism, even while purporting to represent ancient tradition, timeless teaching, or the "essentials" of Buddhism. This literature, Asian as well as Western, weaves together the strands of different traditions to create a novel hybrid that brings Buddhism into alignment with many of the ideologies and sensibilities of the post-Enlightenment West. In this book, David McMahan charts the development of this "Buddhist modernism." McMahan examines and analyzes a wide range of popular and scholarly writings produced by Buddhists around the globe. He focuses on ideological and imaginative encounters between Buddhism and modernity, for example in the realms of science, mythology, literature, art, psychology, and religious pluralism. He shows how certain themes cut across cultural and geographical contexts, and how this form of Buddhism has been created by multiple agents in a variety of times and places. His position is critical but empathetic: while he presents Buddhist modernism as a construction of numerous parties with varying interests, he does not reduce it to a mistake, a misrepresentation, or fabrication. Rather, he presents it as a complex historical process constituted by a variety of responses -- sometimes trivial, often profound -- to some of the most important concerns of the modern era.

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Review: The Making of Buddhist Modernism

User Review  - Dennis Goodyear - Goodreads

Very enlightening book--it cleared up a lot of questions I've been having about where "Western-style" Buddhism comes from. Hint: it's not from Eastern-style Buddhism... Read full review

Review: The Making of Buddhist Modernism

User Review  - Sara Gray - Goodreads

This helped me put my Buddhist practice (and hell, pretty much all of my Buddhistic tendencies) into context--I was surprised at just how much what I thought of as "purely" Buddhist practices and ... Read full review


Buddhism and Modernity
2 The Spectrum of Tradition and Modernism
3 Buddhism and the Discourses of Modernity
4 Modernity and the Discourse of Scientific Buddhism
Art Spontaneity and the Wellsprings of Nature
6 A Brief History of Interdependence
7 Meditation and Modernity
8 Mindfulness Literature and the Affirmation of Ordinary Life
9 From Modern to Postmodern?

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