The Journal of Global Buddhism is an open access, peer reviewed scholarly journal established to promote the study of the globalization of Buddhism, both historical and contemporary, and its transnational and transcontinental interrelatedness. We publish research articles, special issues (special focus sections), discussions, critical notes, review essays and book reviews.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of the Journal of global Buddhism as of 1(2000) to current.

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  • An Entangled Relationship: A Lived Religion Approach to Theravāda Buddhism and Economics

    Schedneck, Brooke (University of Lucerne, 2019-08-20)
    From the perspectives of lived practices of Buddhists, Theravāda Buddhism and economics have a deeply intertwined relationship. My proposed theoretical method for the study of Buddhism and economics delineates two approaches: the doctrinal approach of Max Weber and a modified lived religion approach. The doctrinal approach, which focuses on Buddhist texts and the early monastic life, treats anything outside of a posited “pure Buddhism,” as a transformation of the “original” teachings into something new and different. The remnants of this idea of transformation can be seen in studies of Theravāda Buddhism, causing economic practices involving Buddhist monks to be analyzed as a deviation from the Buddha’s teachings. I propose moving beyond early Buddhism and text-based studies as a baseline for comparison by offering as an alternative a modified version of the lived religion method of Meredith McGuire. My theoretical modifications to this approach allow us to think about lived religion in the Theravāda Buddhist context. I recommend that the cultural logic of Theravāda Buddhism, in particular the economy of merit and contingent conjunctures of engagements with the market, need to be considered in order to avoid understanding Buddhist connections with the economy as a transformation of Buddhist doctrine.
  • The Aura of Buddhist Material Objects in the Age of Mass-Production

    Brox, Trine (University of Lucerne, 2019-08-20)
    The article discusses material religion in a commercial setting and sets off this discussion with Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936). Benjamin argues that mechanical reproduction emancipated works of art from religious rituals and evaporated the aura of art. This has resonance among some Tibetan Buddhists in the context of mass-produced Buddhist material objects. Are such objects fit to be given as gifts, implemented in rituals, and worshipped on altars? Based upon ethnographic work at a Tibetan Buddhist market in urban China, the article argues that although objects manufactured in factories for profit are not made or handled according to Buddhist tradition, the aura can be produced in different ways and at different points of an object’s life.
  • Introduction: Buddhism and Economics

    Williams-Oerberg, Elizabeth (University of Lucerne, 2019-08-20)
    Throughout this introductory article, I bring attention to the important distinction between the field of Buddhist Economics and the field of Buddhism and Economics. Rather than drawing up normative frameworks for how one should engage economically, the authors in this special issue offer new theoretical frameworks for conceptualizing how Buddhists necessarily do engage economically. First, I provide a brief overview of the field of religion and economics, and the burgeoning field of Buddhism and Economics more generally. I then narrow in on the innovative theoretical frameworks presented in this special issue, including important discussions as to the impact of Max Weber, along with considering merit and the contingent conjunctures within which Buddhists negotiate economic contexts. The contributing authors in this special issue emphasize not only how Buddhists necessarily engage with the economy, but also how Buddhist economic exchanges influence as well as are influenced by the surrounding socio-economic environment. I conclude by emphasizing the importance of considering economic relations when examining contemporary Buddhist contexts.
  • An Entangled Relationship: Buddhism and Tourist Economies in Contemporary Thailand

    Schedneck, Brooke (University of Lucerne, 2019-08-20)
    From the perspectives of lived practices of Buddhists, Theravāda Buddhism and economics have a deeply intertwined relationship. My proposed theoretical method for the study of Buddhism and economics delineates two approaches: the doctrinal approach of Max Weber and a modified lived religion approach. The doctrinal approach, which focuses on Buddhist texts and the early monastic life, treats anything outside of a posited “pure Buddhism,” as a transformation of the “original” teachings into something new and different. The remnants of this idea of transformation can be seen in studies of Theravāda Buddhism, causing economic practices involving Buddhist monks to be analyzed as a deviation from the Buddha’s teachings. I propose moving beyond early Buddhism and text-based studies as a baseline for comparison by offering as an alternative a modified version of the lived religion method of Meredith McGuire. My theoretical modifications to this approach allow us to think about lived religion in the Theravāda Buddhist context. I recommend that the cultural logic of Theravāda Buddhism, in particular the economy of merit and contingent conjunctures of engagements with the market, need to be considered in order to avoid understanding Buddhist connections with the economy as a transformation of Buddhist doctrine.
  • Buddhist material objects in the age of mass-production

    Brox, Trine (University of Lucerne, 2019-08-20)
    The article discusses material religion in a commercial setting and sets off this discussion with Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936). Benjamin argues that mechanical reproduction emancipated works of art from religious rituals and evaporated the aura of art. This has resonance among some Tibetan Buddhists in the context of mass-produced Buddhist material objects. Are such objects fit to be given as gifts, implemented in rituals, and worshipped on altars? Based upon ethnographic work at a Tibetan Buddhist market in urban China, the article argues that although objects manufactured in factories for profit are not made or handled according to Buddhist tradition, the aura can be produced in different ways and at different points of an object’s life.
  • Religion, Self-Help, Science: Three Economies of Western/ized Buddhism

    Payne, Richard (University of Lucerne, 2019-01-30)
    Scholars of Buddhism in the United States have attempted to give order to the varieties of Buddhism that they encounter. Typically, such studies have focused on doctrinal, lineal, or socio-historical factors that are, in many ways, already familiar in the field of Buddhist studies. What has been less explored is the ways in which Buddhism has become institutionalized in the United States. This study explores how three pre-existing models of institutional organization have structured the forms that various Buddhisms have taken, regardless of their doctrinal, lineal or socio-historical background. Religion, self-help, and science comprise this three-fold structure. Understanding this three-fold structure involves adding a third term to the common opposition of religion as the transcendent sacred and science as the mundane secular. That third term is the immanent sacred, which is generally suppressed by semiotic pairing of the other two terms, but which is present in the culture of self-help. After discussing the historical background of the three-fold structure, the different economies of the three forms of institutionalization are considered, as well as two additional institutional forms and also hybrid forms.
  • Inclusion and Exclusion in the White Space: An Investigation of the Experiences of People of Color in a Primarily White American Meditation Community

    Hase, Craig Nicholas; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Meadows, James C.; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Budge, Stephanie L.; University of Wisconsin-Madison (University of Lucerne, 2019-08-20)
    More people of color have begun to attend American convert Buddhist communities that have, until recently, been almost exclusively white in composition. This study seeks to explore the ways in which people of color experience racialized inclusion and exclusion in one such community. Utilizing a phenomenological methodology to examine the experiences of eleven participants of color, the present study extrapolates six distinct themes related to their experiences of racialized inclusion and exclusion. These themes are Interpersonal Barriers to Full Participation, Institutional Barriers to Full Participation, Strategies for Coping with Racialized Exclusion, Failures of Leadership Support for People of Color, Range of POC Experiences, and Promoting Equity and Inclusion. Following the explication of themes, the authors offer recommendations for primarily white meditation communities to help guide their efforts toward greater inclusion and equity for people of color.
  • Spiritual Capital and Religious Evolution: Buddhist Values and Transactions in Historical and Contemporary Perspective

    Borup, Jørn (University of Lucerne, 2019-08-20)
    This article analyzes the historical and contemporary relations between Buddhism, economy, and materiality. It shows how, on the one hand, the sangha has been a preconditioning catalyst for and continuous generator of economic development, while, on the other hand, economic transactions and wealth generation have been preconditioning contexts for the development and maintenance of the Buddhist sangha. This is argued for by referring to two modes of economic transactions: a “secular economy,” a byproduct of the sangha’s engagement with the secular world, and a “religious economy,” based on economic transactions related to Buddhist ideas, practices, objects, and institutions. Max Weber’s ideas of the “Protestant ethic” and Robert Bellah’s model of religious evolution are used as theoretical frameworks to analyze possible correspondences between religion, economy, and cultural evolution. It is suggested that Buddhism has also played a significant role in economic and civilizational development in (especially East) Asia.
  • Buddhism, International Relief Work, and Civil Society, edited by Hiroko Kawanami and Geoffrey Samuel

    Chen, Kai; School of International Relations, Xiamen University, China, (University of Lucerne, 2017-11-20)
  • Tibetan Buddhism in Diaspora: Cultural Re-Signification in Practice and Institution, by Ana Cristina Lopes

    Callegari, Ilaria; SOAS, University of London (University of Lucerne, 2017-11-20)
  • Diverse Practices and Flexible Beliefs among Young Adult Asian American Buddhists

    Han, Chenxing (University of Lucerne, 2017-09-20)
    The increasingly criticized “two Buddhisms” dichotomy in scholarly and popular literature bifurcates American Buddhism into two separate groups: white converts who are focused on meditation, and Asian immigrants who engage in devotional practices. This paper builds on critiques of the “two Buddhisms” model by demonstrating the importance of attending to generation as a factor of analysis when studying American Buddhists. Specifically, this study analyzes the diverse practices and nuanced beliefs of twenty-six young adult Asian American Buddhists from a diverse range of ethnic and sectarian backgrounds. In their open-minded attitudes toward a wide range of Buddhist practices and multivalent interpretations of various Buddhist beliefs, these young adults challenge simplistic representations of Asian American Buddhists and present an inclusive vision of Buddhism that embraces nuance, ambiguity, and change. 
  • Not Simple Temple Food: Thai Community Making in the United States

    Bao, Jiemin; University of Nevada Las Vegas (University of Lucerne, 2017-12-15)
    This essay explores Thai Buddhist food practices in relation to community building in the United States. Drawing from interviews, participant observation, and online research, I examine two interconnected issues. First, how temple food practices—offering alms to monks and operating newly invented temple food courts—sustain temples spiritually and financially. Second, how temple food, which is consistently integrated into various events and rituals, enables Thai Americans and a diverse assortment of other participants to connect and work together. This inquiry sheds light on the meanings invested in temple food, and the religious and socio-economic importance of food for Theravada Buddhist community building. 
  • Buddhism Without Merit: Theorizing Buddhist Religio-Economic Activity in the Contemporary World

    Wilson, Jeff (University of Lucerne, 2019-08-20)
    Merit is the fundamental product of the Buddhist system. Buddhists generate and distribute it through their activities, and merit economics have shaped Buddhist practices, organizations, material culture, and inter-personal relations. But what happens when merit ceases to be recognized as a valuable product? For the first time in Buddhist history, some Buddhists are operating entirely outside of the merit economy, with resulting changes in organization, ritual practice, and economic activities. When merit is devalued, it is replaced by elements from culturally dominant non-merit economies and may take on their associated values and practices. Jettisoning the Buddhist merit economy has financial consequences for Buddhist groups, and those who operate without the merit economy must create new post-merit Buddhisms. A sifting process occurs, as practices, ideas, and institutions that are dependent on merit economic logic are altered or abandoned. Successful forms of Buddhism will be those that can be recast with non-merit logic.

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