Tag Archives: Buddhist modernism

Western Self, Asian Other in Buddhist Studies

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

Western Self, Asian Other: Modernity, Authenticity, and Nostalgia for “Tradition” in Buddhist Studies

Natalie E. Quli
Graduate Theological Union

There has been considerable rancor and finger-pointing in recent years concerning the intersection of the West and Buddhism. A new wave of research has focused on Orientalism and the ways in which Western ideas about Buddhism, and even Western criticisms of Buddhism, have been appropriated and turned on their heads to produce a variety of hybrid traditions most often called Buddhist modernism and Protestant Buddhism. Western scholars and early adopters of Buddhism, as well as contemporary Western Buddhist sympathizers and converts, are regularly labeled Orientalists; Asian Buddhists like Anagārika Dharmapāla and D. T. Suzuki are routinely dismissed for appropriating Western ideas and cloaking them with the veil of tradition, sometimes for nationalistic ends, and producing “Buddhist modernism.”

Read article