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The localization of Buddhism in the twenty-first century a methodology for transplanting religious traditions


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Graham, Tom










This essay will attempt to explain three basic principles that can be used to guide the transplantation of a religious tradition from one society to another. These basic principles will be stated in the abstract and should apply more or less well to the localization efforts of any community attempting to introduce an existing religious tradition into a society in which it has not existed before. The transplanting of the Buddhist tradition into American society will be used as a case study for the application of these principles.

In the abstract, the three principles are:

1) the core religious tradition takes precedence over social customs;
2) when transplanted, the tradition will thrive best when wedded to the strong points of the society into which it is being introduced; and
3) If the strong points of the society into which it is being introduced do not contradict the core religious tradition, these strong points will take precedence over any other social customs the tradition may have adopted through the centuries.