The History of Mahayana Buddhism Essay

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Mahayana Buddhism originated in India and is believed to be associated with some of the oldest known existing branches of Buddhism. The temple our group visited was devoted to this philosophical way of thinking, and its practices. More than half of all Buddhist practitioners participate in the Mahayana tradition, making it the largest major tradition of Buddhism existing today (Statistics on Buddhism). In the course of its history, Mahayana Buddhism spread from India to various other Asian countries such as " China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia" (Mahayana Buddhism). The Eastern States Buddhist Temple of America, Inc., founded in 1962, is the oldest Chinese (Mahayana) Buddhist temple on the eastern coast of the United States. It was …show more content…

Appropriately, it was named the “Eastern States Buddhist Temple of America, Inc.” The choice of 64 Mott Street was dictated not only by the fact that this is a convenient place for Chinese Buddhists to gather each week, but also because Mrs. Ying saw a particular need in Chinatown. What she saw was many elderly Chinese men sitting on the sidewalk all day and drinking coffee. These men were laborers from China who planned to leave their family for perhaps one or two decades, then return to their home and family. What they did not count on was the communist revolution. That war essentially scattered their family all over China and thus terminated all their communications with their family members. Now that these men are old and retired, they have neither a Chinese home to return to, nor have they gotten sufficiently Americanized to consider United States their new home. So they sit all day on the sidewalk and drink coffee and chat and wait. What they needed was a place to gather and read and chat. So the new home of the Eastern States Buddhist Temple was designed by Mrs. Ying to be both a social club for these men as well as a temple. These elderly men then came and sat and played chess or read newspaper. Free hot tea was also supplied by the Temple. This ‘social club’ became a smashing success from day one. However, we discovered, that they did become sort of ‘acclimated’

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