Monday, April 5, 2010

California's unique mix of Buddhism

What is the most Buddhist state in America? Tropical Florida, bustling New York, mellow San Francisco, windy Illinois? It seems to be Southern California. The new Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy (Wikipedia) explains why:

As the twentieth century came to a close, 40 percent of all Buddhists in America resided in Southern California. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area has become unique in the Buddhist world as the only place where representative organizations of every major school of Buddhism can be found in a single urban center.

Hsi Lai Temple in Southern California and The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Northern California are two of the largest Buddhist temples in the Western Hemisphere. The state also has a growing Hindu population. There is even a thriving number of new age movements, cults, and Eastern religions. Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shintō, Sikhism, and Taoism have symbolized California as a progressive place for spiritual innovation since the 1960s, though these religions were partly introduced by Asian immigrants when they settled in the state.

California also has the greatest number of (disgruntled and disaffected) Roman Catholics anywhere in the country -- Irish, Italians, Latinos, and Filipinos -- and (bored) Protestants. Los Angeles is estimated to have the second-largest Jewish community in North America, with about 550,000 Jews. And California also has the largest Islamic community (3.4 percent of the population) in the United States, with approximately 100,000 Muslims residing in San Diego alone. Source

It is, therefore, sad to say that the actions of many "religious" people (of whatever faith) demonstrate intolerance and fear (of losing power/control over others).

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