Friday, September 6, 2019

Buddhism in the West

Amber Larson, Pat Macpherson, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly Wikipedia edit

Buddhism in the West, or Western Buddhism, broadly encompasses the knowledge and practice of Buddhism outside of Asia in the Western world.

Occasional intersections between Western civilization and the Buddhist world with its Eastern Philosophy have been occurring for thousands of years.

Buddhist monks in the court of King Menander
The first Westerners to become Buddhists were ancient Greeks who settled in Bactria and pre-India during the Hellenistic period. They became influential figures during the reigns of the Indo-Greek kings, such as King Milinda (Menander I), whose patronage of Buddhism led to the emergence of Greco-Buddhism and Greco-Buddhist art.

Out of India through Central Asia to Ukraine
There was little contact between the Western and Buddhist cultures during most of the Middle Ages but the early modern rise of global trade and mercantilism, improved navigation technology and the European colonization of Asian Buddhist countries led to increased knowledge of Buddhism among Westerners.
Buddhism in ancient America
This increased contact led to various responses from Buddhists and Westerners throughout the modern era. These include religious proselytism, religious polemics and debates (such as the Sri Lankan Panadura debate, Buddhist modernism, Western convert Buddhists, and the rise of Buddhist studies in Western academia.

During the 20th century there was a growth in Western Buddhism due to various factors such as immigration, globalization, the decline of Christianity, and increased interest among Westerners.

The various schools of Buddhism are now established in all major Western countries making up a small minority in the United States (1% in 2017), Europe (0.2% in 2010), Australia (2.4% in 2016), and New Zealand (1.5% in 2013). More

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