Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America: A Short History

Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America: A Short History

Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America: A Short History

Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America: A Short History

Synopsis

Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America explores the challenges that Asian immigrants face when their religion--and consequently culture--is "remade in the U.S.A." Peppered with stories of individual people and how they actually live their religion, this informative book gives an overview of each religion's beliefs, a short history of immigration--and discrimination--for each group, and how immigrants have adapted their religious beliefs since they arrived. Along the way, the roles of men and women, views toward dating and marriage, the relationship to the homeland, the "brain drain" from Asia of scientists, engineers, physicians, and other professionals, and American offshoots of Asian religions, such as the Hare Krishnas and Transcendental Meditation (TM), are discussed.

Excerpt

The religions featured in this book have all been transplanted to the United States from homelands in Asia.

As in botany, transplantation does not mean exact duplication; it involves transformation. Plants grow differently in a new soil and climate. For example, I was once served Thai pumpkin at a Thai Buddhist temple in Chicago; when I asked my host whether Thai pumpkins grown in America taste the same as those grown in Thailand, he did not hesitate to answer, “No!” Like plants raised in other soil, then transplanted to a new environment, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism are evolving in new ways in America’s cultural environment. They are being Americanized in ways welcomed by some people within the religions but lamented by others. Change is inevitable.

Hinduism originated in India so long ago that historians cannot determine its birth date. Buddhism began in the same region about 2,500 years ago and spread throughout Asia. Sikhism was born in the Punjab area of northwestern India just before Columbus sailed to the Americas. Well established in their native countries, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism face . . .

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