Reflections On The Nature And Study Of Buddhism

1676 WordsFeb 4, 20177 Pages
Aptly titled “Reflections on the Nature and Study of Buddhism”, chapter fourteen of Buddhism—The Ebook, by Charles S. Prebish and Damien Keown does exactly that. This part of the text explains Buddhism’s spread to western civilization and how Americans altered it, its evolution into an academic discipline in America, and the role of technology in the discipline of Buddhist Studies. On page 288 of the text, writer Stephen Batchelor describes the western hemisphere’s first encounter with Buddhism as an “Awakening of the West.” This so called “awakening” was not an instantaneous or widespread hit, but factors like Buddhist influences in the arts and a “steadily increasing number of converts and Buddhist institutions” prove that Buddhism was…show more content…
There is no written documentation of the development of Buddhist Studies in America as an academic discipline; from the little that is known, it seems appropriate to attribute the beginning of Buddhist Studies to the aforementioned Paul Carus, along with Henry Clarke Warren and Charles Rockwell Lanman. The first two founding fathers, Henry Clarke Warren and Charles Rockwell Lanman, both studied Sanskrit and taught scholars how to interpret the language. These three individuals worked tirelessly to establish the Buddhist literary tradition in America until Warred died in 1899, at which point Lanman shifted his focus to other studies in the Indic tradition. The development of Buddhist Studies was then left to people like Eugene Watson Burlingame who studied the Pali language. In 1921 he published an extensive translation of these texts in The Harvard Oriental Series (pp.362), a book series founded in 1891 by Charles Rockwell Lanman and Henry Clarke Warren. Despite these efforts, it took another forty years for Buddhist Studies begin its emergence as a significant discipline in the American university system. It is obvious from the chapter that the 1960s were an important decade for Buddhism in America. As stated on page 292, the 1960s were the dawn of the “Global Period of world history,” where improved modes of transportation enabled superior communication for the exchange of
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