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The Transformation of American ReligionThe Story of a Late-Twentieth-Century Awakening$
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Amanda Porterfield

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131376

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195131371.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2020

Buddhism and the Deconstruction of Selfhood

Buddhism and the Deconstruction of Selfhood

(p.125) 4 Buddhism and the Deconstruction of Selfhood
The Transformation of American Religion

Amanda Porterfield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Buddhism emerged as an important component of American culture in the late twentieth century. New laws lifting restrictions on Asian immigrants contributed to this development, as did changes in American intellectual life that led more Americans than ever before to become predisposed toward Buddhist ideas about selfhood. Buddhist ideas had been present in America since the mid‐nineteenth century, but not until the writings of D.T. Suzuki and the Beat poets in the 1950s did these ideas catch hold as antidotes to the materialism and individualism of American culture. This chapter shows how Buddhist ideas of emptiness, nondualism, and no‐self contributed to the development of American psychology and popular culture, and also how American psychology and popular culture revised and redirected these Buddhist ideas.

Keywords:   Beat poets, Buddhism, emptiness, individualism, nondualism, no‐self, popular culture, psychology, selfhood

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