Institutional Scholarship

Americanized Buddhism and the Rise of the Individual-Experiential Religious Consciousness

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dc.contributor.advisor Gould, Mark
dc.contributor.advisor Herrala, Mark
dc.contributor.author Kaplow, Benjamin J.
dc.date.accessioned 2019-04-05T15:27:54Z
dc.date.available 2019-04-05T15:27:54Z
dc.date.issued 2018
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/20657
dc.description.abstract Drawing upon fieldwork conducted at two Buddhist centers in the Philadelphia area, I characterize the nature of religious commitment within Americanized Buddhism as part of a distinctly American transformation in religious thought, rather than a superficial modification of Asian Buddhist practice. This form of the religious commitment, the Individual-Experiential Religious Consciousness, is defined by the attributes of individualism, the primacy of experiential practice, and the universalization of religious validity, ritual, and access to religious truth. I claim that the Individual-Experiential Religious Consciousness is not limited to Buddhism, but is found in a variety of religious groups arising from the counterculture of the 1960s-70s. Utilizing Mark Gould’s theory of motivated religious disorder (Gould 2014), I analytically characterize the requisite causal conditions for the genesis of the Individual-Experiential Religious Consciousness, and aim to trace its institutionalization across religious movements. Drawing on a case study of Erhard Seminars Training, I argue that the Human Potential Movement and imported Zen of the 1960s and 70s were the first religious organizations to articulate this form of religiosity. Utilizing resource mobilization theory, I aim to articulate why the Individual-Experiential Religious Consciousness was first institutionalized in these movements. Lastly, by examining the organizational and religious composition of those early individual-experiential movements, I attempt to explain why they were superseded by the contemporary form of Americanized Buddhism.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Sociology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
dc.subject.lcsh Buddhism -- United States
dc.subject.lcsh Religion and sociology -- United States
dc.subject.lcsh Human potential movement -- United States
dc.subject.lcsh Zen Buddhism -- United States
dc.subject.lcsh Gould, Mark
dc.title Americanized Buddhism and the Rise of the Individual-Experiential Religious Consciousness
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Tri-College users only


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