History of Buddhism in America

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Fortyeightvows
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History of Buddhism in America

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Following up on the post I made here-
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f ... 60#p540190

I searched dharmawheel and was surprised that neither Ernest of Dorothy Hunt have never been mentioned on this site! In fact neither has Father Sumangalo ! These are very important people in the history of Buddhism in USA.

I did a quick google search and found some references to the Hunts and their contributions.
https://books.google.com.tw/books?id=Ol ... 20&f=false

https://books.google.com.tw/books?id=Ew ... nt&f=false

https://books.google.com.tw/books?id=WP ... 20&f=false

I have said before that there is not really any good book that really documents the history of Buddhism in America. I really think someone should get to work on one soon because every year there are less and less of the people around to tell the story.
Fortyeightvows
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Re: History of Buddhism in America

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Fortyeightvows wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:12 am I have said before that there is not really any good book that really documents the history of Buddhism in America. I really think someone should get to work on one soon because every year there are less and less of the people around to tell the story.
I’ll add that if there is a dharmawheeler who is seriously up for the task, I could definitely send them some resources for it.

I think Q probably would have some some good input too
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tobes
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Re: History of Buddhism in America

Post by tobes »

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/book ... ck-fields/

I thought it was pretty good. It's history though, not everyone will be pleased....
Malcolm
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Re: History of Buddhism in America

Post by Malcolm »

tobes wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:38 am https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/book ... ck-fields/

I thought it was pretty good. It's history though, not everyone will be pleased....
It is also quite outdated and the author is deceased.
Fortyeightvows
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Re: History of Buddhism in America

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Ok, so I have looked at a few books like that and my general impression was that they all sort of went like this-

-railroads and gold mines
-theosophy and similar
-alot of pages about Zen in the 60's
-alot of pages about trungpa
-a few pages about hsuan hua and others

This book you linked to, I looked at it on google books and those first few chapters look great. Very worth reading. With alot of stuff I don't know about.

But as for what I would call a 'good history of buddhism in america', I really don't think this book is it.

I used google books to search and found that neither the Hunts nor Sumangalo were in there at all. No mention of the oracle that correctly predicted the presidential election. Alot of very very old temples that are still around (most in different locations now) are not mentioned, etc.
Someone should interview the real old timers now and hear the stories first hand.
You know what I mean?
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: History of Buddhism in America

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

My mother grew up on Staten Island in New York, and told me she remembered a short time when there were Tibetan Lamas seen there.
This museum opened there in 1945

https://www.tibetanmuseum.org
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Fortyeightvows
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Re: History of Buddhism in America

Post by Fortyeightvows »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:19 pm My mother grew up on Staten Island in New York, and told me she remembered a short time when there were Tibetan Lamas seen there.
This museum opened there in 1945

https://www.tibetanmuseum.org
That’s the type of stuff I’m talking about.

Also there was some things in this thread that I would think deserve a mention-
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=30575
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tobes
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Re: History of Buddhism in America

Post by tobes »

Fortyeightvows wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:14 pm Ok, so I have looked at a few books like that and my general impression was that they all sort of went like this-

-railroads and gold mines
-theosophy and similar
-alot of pages about Zen in the 60's
-alot of pages about trungpa
-a few pages about hsuan hua and others

This book you linked to, I looked at it on google books and those first few chapters look great. Very worth reading. With alot of stuff I don't know about.

But as for what I would call a 'good history of buddhism in america', I really don't think this book is it.

I used google books to search and found that neither the Hunts nor Sumangalo were in there at all. No mention of the oracle that correctly predicted the presidential election. Alot of very very old temples that are still around (most in different locations now) are not mentioned, etc.
Someone should interview the real old timers now and hear the stories first hand.
You know what I mean?
Well, you probably need many historians working on this, and many books. It is actually a pretty big topic.

An interview project of the kind of you are speaking about is more or less happening in Australia now, driven by some good scholars who also recognise that with the passing of the older generation, much excellent primary source material will be lost. You can see some of them here: https://vimeo.com/channels/buddhismaustralia/page:4

Bear in mind that in Aust, only one history has been published which was someone's honours thesis. For a that, it was excellent, but as a decent history it has many shortcomings. America is a much bigger fish. I can only agree with your idea, the real question is: who will fund?
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