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The Making of Buddhist Modernism$
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David L. McMahan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183276.001.0001

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Introduction: Buddhism and Modernity

Introduction: Buddhism and Modernity

(p.3) 1 Introduction: Buddhism and Modernity
The Making of Buddhist Modernism

David L. McMahan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

What many Americans and Europeans understand by “Buddhism” is actually a hybrid of a number of Buddhist traditions that have cross-fertilized with the dominant discourses of western modernity, especially those rooted in Enlightenment rationalism, Romanticism, and Protestant Christianity. The popular western picture of Buddhism is neither unambiguously “there“ in ancient Buddhist texts and lived traditions nor merely a fantasy of an educated elite population in the West, an image with no corresponding object. It is, rather, an actual new form of Buddhism that is the result of a process of modernization, westernization, reinterpretation, image-making, revitalization, and reform that has been taking place not only in the West but also in Asian countries for over a century.

Keywords:   Buddhist modernism, modernity, American Buddhism, orientalism, hybridity, Charles Taylor

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