Buddhism Beyond Modernity
Yale University Press 2019
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Buddhist StudiesNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network April 26, 2019 Natasha Heller
In her new book, American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity (Yale University Press, 2019), Ann Gleig makes a major contribution to scholarship on American Buddhism. Gleig focuses on meditation-based convert Buddhist lineages in North America, and in particular she is interested in the generational changes underway in these groups. The first generations of convert Buddhist teachers often modernized the tradition in distinctly American ways, and now Gen X and millennial Buddhists are re-engaging with the tradition but bringing to their Buddhist practice and teaching new questions. The issues that they—and Gleig, in her study—tackle include mindfulness as a secular and commercialized practice, sex scandals, and new technologies. These Buddhists ask how their communities should address racism and social injustice, and what the goal of practice should be. Gleig sets her fine-grained ethnographic research within a larger discussion of Buddhist modernism, arguing that the convert Buddhism is better understood through the lens of post-modernity.