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Philosophy

Western Kentucky University

Acculturation

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Tradition And Change: Two Buddhisms In The Bible Belt Sharing Common Ground Through Adaptation, Jonathan Spence Dec 2014

Tradition And Change: Two Buddhisms In The Bible Belt Sharing Common Ground Through Adaptation, Jonathan Spence

Masters Theses & Specialist Projects

This thesis examines how some American and Burmese forms of Buddhism in the Bible Belt today share common ground through a process of adaptation. Exploring tradition and change, I reveal how change often requires adaptation. Utilizing ethnographic research conducted in south central Kentucky and middle Tennessee, I argue that some Burmese and American forms of Buddhism in the Bible Belt experience change through three aspects of adaptation. These consist of reduction, syncretism, and preservation. I explore these three aspects through interviews and observations of immigrant Burmese Buddhist monks and American Buddhist meditation leaders. In doing so, I also examine the ...