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California ‘Zen’

Buddhist Spirituality Made in America

Inken Prohl

Pages 193 - 206


Focusing on the United States as a contact zone for transcultural flows, this article examines how Zen Buddhism was imported into the United States; remade and remarketed there; and then re-imported back into Japan. Beginning with the impact of D. T. Suzuki, the article presents important cultural brokers, institutions, and popular discourses that spread the narratives and practices of both Zen Buddhism and ‘Zen.’ The examination illustrates the importance of the United States as a religious marketplace in itself and as a productive and creative refinery of and for ideas, lifestyles, and products—in this case, Zen Buddhism.


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