using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 58 thirty years. It’s a complex picture. The people I’ve talked to have paused and sighed when asked to reach back three decades. That’s a long stretch in any human being’s lifetime. Things were very different then. There was no Google to google Buddhism, but if you could have, you wouldn’t have found articles on Buddhism and health, Buddhism and ecology, Buddhism and neuroscience, Buddhism and much of anything for that matter. You might, though, have come across an article in the Rocky Mountain News referring to Buddhists as “a blue- jeaned crowd of anti-war protestors who turned their back on their American heritage.” And if you were lucky, you might have found a handful of Buddhist books in a mainstream bookstore. Medi- tating grandmothers were unheard of in America. Navigating the landscape of Buddhism’s last thir- ty years requires some signposts. Any good Buddhist is taught to distrust labels and narratives as a little too convenient—the slippery “generally character- ized phenomena” that Buddhist philosophy warns against—but we also know that without them, it’s hard to talk about where you’ve been and where you’re going. I’ve found it helpful to use four major trends as a lens through which to view the last thirty years, and they follow a loose chronology. Each has origins in earlier periods and continuations in later peri- ods, but for a while it seems, each was the “cover story” of the day. The period began with the movement of Buddhism from the countercultural fringe toward the mainstream of American cul- ture. That was followed by a period of upheavals in Buddhist com- munities about power, authority, and gender; a surge in the fame and celebrity of Buddhism, led particularly by the Dalai Lama; and most recently, a move toward Buddhism beyond Buddhism, Celebrating Buddhism in America: 30 Great Years Buddhism in America has changed dramatically in the three decades since the Shambhala Sun was founded. It’s been a fascinating time of growth, scandal, deepening practice, and ever-increasing impact on American society. The late Rick Fields, a former editor of the Sun, wrote the definitive history of Buddhism’s early days in America. Now our senior editor, BARRY BOYCE, picks up the story. IN THE MID- 1970S , Rick Fields embarked on a little journey. It began simply enough, with a piece commissioned by Stewart Brand (the Whole Earth Catalog founder) for his Coevolution Quarterly. In “Beginning Buddhism,” Fields, who later became editor of the Vajradhatu Sun, set out to explain for “my father, my mother, and many other people” why Buddhism was important and relevant in the “rocky, concrete soil of America.” Working on the article sparked journalistic wanderlust in Fields, and as such pursuits are wont to do, the cataloging of Buddhism’s arrival on Western soil got out of con- trol. He decided to track down all of the many paths Buddhism followed as it worked its way west. Eventu- ally, his story would start with the Buddha and leave off in the late seventies. The resulting 400-page book ended not with a stirring conclusion, however, but faded to black with an air of “to be continued...” How the Swans Came to the Lake laid the founda- tion for future narrative histories of how Buddhism has taken root in the West. We find ourselves now, about thirty years on, with more of the story to tell. If Fields’ sprawling account was about how Buddhist ideas and teachers and practices first found their way to the West, the next part of the story is about how Buddhism is acculturating itself to America, and America to Buddhism. Many of the groundbreaking teachers he talked to or interviewed, the swans, have passed on, but the lake is still here. On the Su n’s thirtieth anniversary, it seems like a good time to ask ourselves what’s been happening since Fields wrote the first chapter of Buddhism’s history in the West. To answer that question, I’ve been looking into the record con- tained in books and articles, talking to people who’ve been around for a while, and peering into my own memory of Buddhism’s last