This book examines the adaptation of Buddhism to the Australian socio-cultural context, within the broader context of Buddhism's development in Westernized countries. The book also examines the methodological approaches currently used for studying this process and suggests a synthesis of the approaches used for studying convert and ethnic Buddhist groups. Spuler begins with an example of how Buddhism has adapted to the Australian context, illustrating both seemingly logical adaptations and incongruities. The process that has given rise to this hybridised tradition is examined, and the book provides a history of Buddhism's development. It then focuses on data gathered during field work, on the adaptation of Diamond Sangha Zen Buddhist groups in Australia, and compares this with other Western Buddhist groups, using existing models of cross-cultural acculturation. This book is timely as it provides a much-needed update on Buddhism in Australia. This information is vital for international comparative studies with Buddhism in other countries.
It also includes previously unpublished information about the Diamond Sangha Zen Buddhist organisation, one of the largest Zen lineages in the West. Its founding teacher, Robert Aitken, is often cited as a key figure in the history of Western Zen. This book will be of interest to Buddhist practitioners and students and scholars of Buddhist studies, as well as anyone interested in processes of acculturation.
Michelle Spuler is the former editor of the Journal of Global Buddhism and has held positions at universities in USA, New Zealand and Australia.