AbstractM.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
This thesis catalogues the different ways three Asian Buddhist teachers present Buddhism to American audiences. Taking this approach has two benefits. First, it gives scholars a theoretical foundation of how Americans can incorporate Buddhism into their religious identities. Second, successful teachers often echo the desires of their audiences. Therefore, studying their messages reveals some of the beliefs and practices of American Buddhists. After examining three different Buddhist teachers, we will be better equipped to understand how Buddhism fits into American life. This new understanding shows that our current framework for discussing changing religious identities--namely the word "to convert"--is inappropriate for discussions of American Buddhism.