Buddhist Studies and its Impact on
Buddhism in Western Societies:
An Historical Sketch and Prospects
Deeg (University of Vienna)
There is no doubt that
Buddhism has come to the West and the respective story is a fascinating one. There
has been a flood of publications on almost any aspect of Buddhism in the West,
for almost any country belonging to that very undifferentiated cultural-geographic
entity, in the past two decades or so. The studies have multiplied to an extent
that long bibliographies on different aspects and regions of Buddhism in the West
- Buddhism in Europe, Buddhism in America, Buddhism in Australia, Buddhism in
the past, Buddhism in modern society - have been published. What we do not have
yet, however, is a comparative study of the different "Buddhisms" in
the West, that is: the different processes of reception and their interdependency
on Buddhist studies and vice-versa.
The following article is divided roughly
in two parts: in the first one I will describe the history of Buddhism as an object
of studies and as a living religion in the West, demonstrated in the cases of
Germany and the United States, and the interrelation of both aspects of Buddhism
in a few strokes. In the last part I will try to sketch some differences between
the developments in America and the German speaking countries European and the
possible underlying reasons in context with social, political and intellectual
backgrounds. I will end with some very short remarks on the future of both Buddhism
in society and a possible role of Buddhist studies.
the beginning of the 19th century, the beginning of professional Sinology and
Indology, Buddhism was known to the Western world only sources either not aware
of the specifics of the religion or somewhat distorted by religious and colonial
propaganda like in the reports of Catholic missionaries to the Far East, China
and Japan, and to Tibet.
The very first contact of the West with India is going
back beyond the times of the Macedonian-Greek king Alexander the Great but there
is no direct source on Buddhism. Most information on India of that time we owe
to the Greek embassador of the Greek ruler Seleukos Nikator from 302 B.C. until
288 B.C. in the capital of the Maurya-kingdom of A±oka's grandfather Candragupta
(Sandragottos), P?æaliputra (Palibothra, today's Patna), Megasthenes,
who has, however, no direct references to Buddhism, but only mentions ±ramaÏas
(sarmanes) being taken as hints to Buddhist and other mendicants. There has been
and still is discussion on the possible influence of Buddhism on late Neoplatonism
and early Christianity and especially the "hybrid" school of the Gnosis,
laying emphasis on wisdom for attaining individual insight and redemption.
This goes so far that the epithet of the teacher of the famous philosopher Plotinus
(ca. 205-270), Alexandrian Ammonius Sakkas (died ca. 242), should be a derivation
of Ö?kya, showing the Buddhist affiliation of the philosopher. Clemens
of Alexandria (ca. 150-215) reports in his Stromateis (ca. 200 A.D.) about "Some,
too, of the Indians obey the precepts of Boutta and; whom, on account of his extraordinary
sanctity, they have raised to divine honours." One early Christian writer,
Saint Hieronymus (ca. 347-419 A.D.), even pointed out to the similarity between
the birth of Jesus and the Buddha: "There is the tradition that Budda, their
leader of their teaching, was born from the lap of a virigin". After that
early period there is a sort of gap of information on Buddhism until the beginning
of the Middle Ages.
In medieval times then, information on Buddhism was relatively
restricted: we have, of course, the report "Description of the World"
("Divisament dou Monde", or: "Il Milione") of the famous Venetian
Marco Polo (travelled 1275-1291), who, in typical Christian attitude, describes
Tibetan and K?±mrian Buddhist monks (baci = boshi ³Õ®v
and sensi or sensin : xianshi ¥P®v or shengxian ¸t½å?),
without calling them Buddhists, involved in magic and sorcery (ch.55). In his
description of the island of Seilan (Ceylon) he also has a passage on the Buddha
- he uses the Mongolian form of the name Sagamoni Burcan -, and his life at
the end of which he makes a remark typical for the christocentric worldview of
this time and the following century (ch.179): "For truly if he had been a
babtized Christian he would have been a great saint with our Lord Jesus Christ
for the good life and pure which he led."
Marco Polo's description
of the life of the Buddha is relatively extensive and correct in details, but
it is not the earliest account of the biography of the Lord. It is certainly and
partly assembled by hearsay but also from the early medieval legend of "Barlaam
and Josaphat", Josaphat being a corrupted form of Bodhisattva. This legend,
whose textual origin and history is still unknown, gained a particular popularity
after it was translated from the Georgian language into Greek around 1000 A.D.
and subsequently into Latin (1048 A.D.). It became part of the most popular compendium
of hagiographies in the Middle Ages, Jacobus de Voragine's "Legenda Aurea"
(13. century), but its Buddhist origin has not been recognised in its Christian
disguise, although there is already a gloss in some versions of Marco Polo's report
about the similarity between the Buddha-legend reported there and the legend,
and despite the fact that the Portuguese Diego do Conto had already in 1612 pointed
out that Josaphat and the Bodhisattva Ö?kyamuni may be the same person.
about Buddhism in the following period of the Christian missionaries, reaching
its climax in the 17th century with the advent of the Jesuit mission in East-Asia
and Central-Asia (Tibet) so closely and well-known connected with the names of
Matteo Ricci and others in China and Franciscus Xaverius (1506-1552) in Japan,
and Antonio d'Andrade (1580-1634), Ippolito Desideri (1684-1733) in Lhasa, was
almost restricted on their reports. What we find in philosophical and learned
sources in Europe prior to the 19th century and shortly after it is mainly a combination
of the pieces of information from the classical, medieval and missionary-sources.
Europeans knew some details about the Buddha and his teaching from these missionary
reports and from ethnographical literature it was not before the first half of
the 19th century that it became standard knowledge that the religions of Ceylon,
Burma, Thailand, Tibet, Mongolia, China and Japan were indeed going back to the
same founder, the Buddha. The German philosopher Kant, for instance, refering
mainly to Marco Polo and the younger travel reports in his readings on "Physical
Geography" (composed before 1760!) was rather puzzled by the fact that there
was a religion in South- and Southeast-Asia whose founder had totally different
names: "In all these countries the Indian ["indianische"] religion
is predominating with the difference that it was spread by a person called Budda
in Ceylon, Schaka in India, Samanakodam in Siam, whose soul had wandered around
on earth until it went up to Heaven.
"; for China, Japan and Tibet
he did not identify Buddhism as such: "The sect of the Fo [in China] believes
in the transmigration of souls.
", but the Lotuss?tra, which he calls
"the book of Flowers" (following the reports of the German physician
Engelbert Kämpfer) and "religious book of the Japanese", was not
recognized by him as belonging to Buddhism. Etymological association was the
technique of the day, where Gotama could be explained as "good man"
(German: "Guter Mann") and the Manichaeans were declared as a sect from
Tibet, because of the well-known formula "Oò mani padme huò".
Even a philosophers's knowledge who referred to Buddhism all the time as Arthur
Schopenhauer was very much restricted through the sources which were published
and he does call a lot of matters Buddhist which were indeed collected from Hindu-sources,
especially from the Upaniãads.
The Beginnings of Buddhist Studies
As you all may know the advent of Buddhism as an object of academic research
happened before Buddhism was established as a living and practiced religion in
the West. It was closely connected to the discovery of India and its languages
and literatures by Western scholars. It was mainly Sanskrit, the old language
of the Indian Brahmins, which led to the discovery by British civil servants as
William Jones, Ch. Wilkins and H.Th.Colebrooke in India that far in the East
there was a language, though related to the classical languages of Western cultures,
Greek and Latin, in terms of regularity and formal richness was even superior
to those. This was the beginning of Indo-European comparative linguistics which
finally led to its abuse in order to support ideologically colonialist and nationalist
tendencies and realities by the help of a mainly linguistically contructed ideology
of racism which in the end incited an already latent anti-semitism in almost all
countries in Europe around the end of the 19th century, but especially and best
known through its Nazi form in the German-speaking countries.
The same discovery,
however, also led to the study and investigation of classical Indian literature,
the huge bulk of which, besides the poetic traditions of India, consisted of philosophical
and religious works. There was first the big corpus of the Veda, the holy literature
of Brahmanism which later developed into what we call now Hinduism. But from the
second half of the 19th century it was also the literature of Indian Buddhism
which came into the focus of the Western Orientalists.
After the linguistic
gateway to the literature of India was tossed open by the establishment of the
first chairs for the study of Sanskrit, Buddhist literature in Indic languages
came into the focus of orientalists very soon. While the first Indologists - for
instant the first German professor for Indology, called "Orientalistik"
in these days, August Wilhelm Schlegel in Bonn (established 1818) and his brother
Friedrich Schlegel in his famous "On language and wisdom of the Indians"
("Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier", 1808) - almost exclusively
dealt with Brahmanic or Hindu material, early indologists like Wilson and Lassen
already included some references to Indian Buddhism in their main works; they
could, however, not refer to original sources but used only Hindu-sources in Sanskrit.
It was French Sinologists and Orientalists who studied Buddhism on the basis of
original Buddhist texts of what they called then the Northern school of Buddhism,
opposed to the Southern school which was Therav?da in Ceylon. The first scholar
who worked with and on these texts was the French Abel Rémusat who translated
the travel-record of Buddhist pilgrim to India, Faxian ªkÅã.
In his annotations Rémusat gives a kind of surview of the state of knowledge
on Buddhism in his time. A real flow of Buddhology started of around the middle
of the 19th century with the "discovery" of P?li as the "original"
language of the Buddhists and a bundle of Buddhist Sanskrit texts from Nepal,
sent back by the British representative in Kathmandu, Hodgson. It was Eugène
Burnouf, who in 1826 had already published together with the Danish-German indologist
Lassen a short treatise "Essai sur le Pali ou langue sacrée de la
presqu'île au-delà du Gange" (Paris) and now shifted to the
study of the texts of Mah?y?na. The outcome of his studies was Burnouf's translation
of the Lotuss?tra, the SaddharmapuÏ¯arkas?tra (completed 1839, printed
1841, published postumus 1852), and the first compendium on Buddhism in a European
language, the "Histoire du Bouddhisme indien" (1844), in which the French
scholar mainly relied on his Sanskrit sources from Nepal received by the British
representative in Kathmandu, Brian Houghton Hodgson, in 1837.
wave of Buddhist studies in Europe - American scholars were rather inactive in
this field of study, as Thomas Tweed has shown in a short article - based
on the Northern sources from East-Asia and the Him?laya-region, including more
and more Tibetan material, was very soon overflowed by the interest in and
research done on the P?li Tipiæaka. The reasons for this shift of interest
are to be found in the historicism of the second half of the 19th century, trying
to trace back and reconstruct the most authentic and original form of everything
found in human history. The P?li-sources with their seemingly "orientalist"
- in the sense of Edward Said - and "protestant" and unmythical character
was the purest source for the word of the Buddha for scholars like the British
Thomas Rhys-Davids, the German Hermann Oldenberg and many others who joined
the work of the new-founded P?li Text Society, and this originally scholarly notion
had, as we will see below, its heavy impact at least on German Buddhism of the
So, the first period of interest in Buddhism in Europe was clearly
a scholarly and intellectual adventure and this continued to be so for a long
time until the first small communities of practicing Buddhists in Germany came
into existence, which consisted characteristically mainly of academics and even
But the influence of these first acedemic achievements in the
study of Buddhism was beyond the Western hemisphere: Buddhist modernism, which
comprises an approach to traditional Buddhism in Asian countries, was instigated
by this rise of Western Buddhist Studies and the sympathy and conflict with Buddhism
in scholars's circles but also in circles searching alternative lifestyles. The
concept of the groups, being rather minorities in their motherlands but representing
their kind of Buddhism to the outside world - we now would probably say: internationally
-, was and is to adapt Buddhism to modern societies and modern sciences. This
was achieved on the social level by a trend of "protestantization" of
Buddhism: the instigation of more content-oriented study of the own Buddhist
scriptures, in some cases by Western Orientalist methods, and a tendency of including
the laypeople more into religious life to an extend that monastics played a rather
unimportant role or no role at all. A reduction of the traditional saÏgha's
role in Ceylon's Buddhist revival was instigated through the efforts of Colonel
Olcott and represented by the non-monastic type of Buddhists like the paradigmatic
(David Hervavitarne) Dharmap?la, leading to the foundation of the Mah?bodhi-Society
in 1891 in order to revive Buddhism in Ceylon and in its homeland India where
it had disappeared by the 12th, 13th century; it was in this Society that the
saôgha took pace again with the social and religious developments. Similar
trends as in Ceylon, though more cooperational with the traditional saôgha
than the movement was there in the beginning, can be observed in Burma (Myanmar)
and Thailand, although the differences have to be seen: Burma's and Thailand's
Buddhist Modernisms lacked the influence from Western parties such as the Theosophical
Society and were only indirectly instigated through the colonial presence
of the British Empire, respectively the pressure of the Western powers to open
up the country. Burma and Thailand were then different in respect of modernist
developments: while the Burmese movement led to the "revolutionary"
tendencies towards the independence of the country from British rule and socialist
ideology, the first wave of what can be called Buddhist modernism in Thailand,
already instigated by Mongkut, the later R?ma IV, in the first half of the 19th
century, was intended to stabilize the royal rulership and to consolidate the
country's and the nation's unity against the Western pressure and influence, falling
back however, on Western scientific models of interpretation and analysis. The
resulting study of the Buddhist canon and strict interpretation of the Vinaya
lead to the formation of the Thammayutika-Nik?ya fraction of the Thai saôgha
under king Chulalongkorn. In China it is definitely Taixu ¤Óµê
and the Lay Buddhist Movements in the first half of the 20th century who represent
Buddhist Modernism. Meiji-Japan and the following decades saw a growing
number of lay-Buddhist movements like the Reiy?-kai ÆF¤Í·|
and their offsprings Rissh?-k?sei-kai ¥ß¥¿Ë³¥¿·|
and the S?ka-gakkai ³Ð¤Æ¾Ç·| attracting
laypeople and sometimes opposing the nationalist policy of the government. On
the other hand there was, from the beginning of the Meiji-era, a strong movement
to establish Buddhist studies as a full-fledged academic field which was mainly
streamlined along the Western model by the first Japanese scholars like Buny?
Nanj? who studied under such eminent researchers as F.Max Müller, while the
number of students of Buddhism in the West from other Buddhist countries, China,
Thailand, etc, before the end of World War II is very low. Korea until the end
of Japanese rulership was pressed to follow the models of Japanese Buddhism and
experienced a Buddhist revival after 1945 in the Southern part of the divided
country both in terms of emmacipation of lay-Buddhists and of a focus on Buddhist
Buddhism in the West - Europe, especially Germany
early history and situation for Buddhism as a religion was different in the different
European countries and cultures. I will restrict myself to German-speaking countries.
The reason for this is not only a question of restricted space but also the fact
that the reception process of Buddhism in the different European countries with
their different identities and national histories cannot be described as a monolithic
one, but developed along contextual lines of the historical reality of these countries,
receiving different Buddhist "input" from different sources, e.g. England
from its colonies Ceylon and (later) Birma, France from its South-Asian colonies.
The restriction can also be justified by the fact that Germany and Austria seem
to have - together with Portugal - the highest rate of sympathy with Eastern religions
and so-called native religions not belonging to the European mainstream (Protestantism,
The special historical and political setting of the German-speaking
countries before World War I, the "Deutsche Kaiserreich" (German Empire)
and the "Königliche und Kaiserliche Monarchie" (Empire (of Austria)
and Kingdom (of Hungaria)) which included Hungaria was marked by the fact that
both empires were not involved in direct colonial activities in Buddhist countries.
This very situation contributed to the fact, that - compared with England with
its South-Asian colonies and France with its South-East-Asian colonies - Buddhism
as a religion could start from a less prejudiced but also more "naïve"
foundation without a permanent contact and friction with Asian countries. The
outcome was, despite the intellectual and rational habitus and aim of the first
movements, a rather romantic vision of Buddhism as an individually oriented lifestyle.
The orientation of early German Buddhism on the Therav?da, or to be more correct:
P?li-Buddhism was so strong, that even the few Germans who had contact with another
form of Buddhism than Therav?da did so, however, through their interest in Therav?da
and as an introduction to German Buddhism I will give you an example of one of
To show how Buddhism practiced in the German-speaking world has
been more a question of (almost totally) private "lifestyle" than of
socially practiced faith shown to and realized by the outside world and at the
same time that Chinese Buddhism had almost no impact on the German-speaking world,
I would like to give you an example from my own biography.
I was born in a
very small town - in Asia it would be called a village by size: 6000 inhabitants
- in Southern Germany. It was not before I already had studied Buddhism at the
university - how else in Germany of the seventies than by learning and by reading
P?li after having done Sanskrit before - and then later history of religions in
general that I became aware that, despite the fact that a handful of famous Therav?da-monks
originally were Germans, there had been only a handfull of Germans who had become
a Buddhist monks or nuns in the Chinese tradition and the most active was Martin
Steinke (1882 - 1966), his faming ªk¦W Daojun ¹D®m. He originally
was a banker in Berlin and came from the typical German Therav?da-Buddhist circles
in Berlin before he moved towards Mah?y?na, and finally decided to go to China
to be ordained as a Mah?y?na-monk. He went to Nanjing together with Ignácz
Trebitsch (1879 - 1943, died in Shanghai), a Jewish Ungarian-German adventurer
and spy turned monk Zhaokong ·ÓªÅ (ordained 1931) and
a very obscure and brutally dominant personality, who was probably the first Westerner
to become ordained in the Chinese tradition. Steinke received the precepts
on the Qixia-shan ´ÏÁø¤s in November 1933. The
group had been accompanied by three German ladies, two of whom committed suicide
- one jumping into the Street of Malacca and another committing suicide - and
one was ordained Daole ¹D¼Ö. After having arrived back in Germany
in May 1934 Steinke and after activities such as speeches on Buddhism and Buddhist
retreats he founded the "Buddhist Community" (Buddhistische Gemeinde
e.V.) in 1937. In 1941 he was arrested for a short time by the Gestapo and his
activities were interdicted until the end of World-War II. In 1956 he was invited
to the sixth Buddhist Council in Rangoon.
Some years after I had read
about this remarkable personality I was even more surprised to learn that he had
lived his last decades in a neighbouring town, Bad Mergentheim, about 12 km from
my own hometown, and that he had a small Buddhist circle there. He had been a
personality in public life, mayor of a small town in the area and director of
the bath-organization in Bad Mergentheim. I asked my father, who comes from the
very community and went to school there, about Steinke / Daojun and his activities,
and he told me that he knew about something going on in one old house in the town,
but could not tell me any details.
But let us to go back after this short
excurse to the beginning of Buddhism in Germany: at almost the same time as the
intensified studies of P?li a movement was born through the notorious genius of
a German-Russian womar which instigated non-academics' interest in Asian religions
and, at least in the beginning of the movement, in Buddhism: the Theosophical
Society of Madame Helena Blavatsky and her colleague, the American Colonel Olcott.
The German branch, the "Theosophische Societät Germania" ("Theosophical
Society of 'Germania'"), was founded in July 1884, while the first Buddhist
association in Germany, the "Association for Buddhist Mission in Germany"
("Buddhistischer Missionsverein in Deutschland") was not founded before
1903 in Leipzig.
It was in the last decaded of the 19th century that the first
individuals, groups and communities of Buddhists in Europe appeared on the scene.
Following the history of European scholarship in Buddhism and its outcome from
the Theosophical Society, Buddhism in German-speaking countries such as the German
Empire and the Austrian Monarchy but not only there, until some period of
time after World-War II focused mainly on the Therav?da-Buddhism of the P?li-canon
which was taken as the original and authentic teaching of Gautama Siddh?rtha,
who was Ö?kyamuni Buddha. Being a Buddhist meant to understand rationally
- and sometimes also by intuitition - what was written in the Suttas of the Tipiæaka.
So we find amongst the early German Buddhists some fine P?li-scholars who made
the first translations of the Sutta-Piæaka into German, like Karl Seidenstücker,
Paul Dahlke, Karl-Eugen Neumann (1865-1915) and Georg Grimm.
This does not
mean, however, that the first German Buddhists were sectarianists; the range of
topics reflected in the first German Buddhist journals and periodicals was truly
cosmopolitan, even if this was more a program than an achieved reality. It
was rather a lack of opportunity to have contact with other forms of Buddhism
- except some encounters with representatives of Japanese forms of Buddhism -
which kept German Buddhism in the track of almost exclusively Therav?da. German
Buddhist groups of the first period, mainly located in the cities of Berlin and
Leipzig, were not only closely interconnected to each other, they also had close
ties with other non-mainstream groups such as "International Theosophical
Brotherhood", "German Association of Monists", several association
for the promotion of cremation, etc.. They were usually consisting of only
some members from the middle up to the higher range of society, a fact which did
not prevent them to have struggles with each other, on the surface caused by the
interpretation of the dharma, under the surface often stemming from personal inanimities
and financial quarels. The example of the differences between Georg Grimm
and Paul Dahlke and the final split of the early Buddhist community into two main
branches the so called "Old-Buddhist Community" (Altbuddhistische Gemeinde)
and the "New-Buddhist Community" (Neubuddhistische Gemeinde) is a striking
case for these strange
Paradoxically the early Buddhists in Germany, though
they relied mainly on Therav?da-sources, did not become monks - those who did
so, like the famous Ny?natiloka, left the country - but stayed laypeople. There
was only a short period of time around 1907 that there were plans to establish
a full-fledged Buddhist monastery in Germany: Ny?natiloka, living then as a bhikkhu
in Birma, thought about living in a German vih?ra, which should get a steady flow
of European bhikkhus trained in Birma by England-born bhikkhu Metteya. This idea,
however, was turned down by Seidenstücker, the leader of the Mahabodhi-Centrale
in Leipzig, who pointed out the impossibility of adapting Buddhist monastic lifestyle
to the German social environment and a also the danger that "queer persons"
could enter such a place and do damage to Buddhism in Germany. The whole project
finally failed in 1912 because there was not enough donated money to realize it.
After World War I the centers of German Buddhism spread from Leipzig and Breslau
to Hamburg, Berlin (Paul Dahlke) and with in Munich (Georg Grimm) Southern Germany
was established as a center of P?li lay Buddhism which is intact until these days.
The orientation of early German Buddhism towards Therav?da, or to be more
correct: P?li-Buddhism was so strong, that even the few Germans who had contact
with another form of Buddhism than Therav?da did so, however, through their interest
in Therav?da, and a second charactaristic was that there was direct interaction
between scholars of Buddhism and the newly founded communities. German Buddhism
in these decades may be described as a circle of mainly P?li-text readers without
robes, almsbowls and vih?ras.
The situation changed after the suppression
of most Buddhist activities suspected as un-German and pacifistic under the Nazis
and after World War II: the new vogue - prepared by influentious books like Eugen
Herrigel's "Zen und die Kunst des Bogenschießens" ("Zen and
the Art of Archery"), Daisetsu Teitar? Suzuki's "Zen and Japanese Culture",
the presentation of Asian traditions and religions by psychologist C.G. Jung but
certainly fully launched by American influence - was Zen and meditation-oriented
Buddhist practices in general and Therav?da-Buddhism lost ground until it began
to have a revival after a new focus on its own spiritual tradition of vipassan?-meditation
in the last years. Tibetan Buddhism arrived in Germany in the seventies, and Germany
was by then back in the mainstream of development of Buddhism in the West. This
wave of reception was certainly embedded in a general crisis of the generation
in the sixties and the resulting "Sinnsuche", which led to a new wave
of oriental exoticism, this time towards more individual and practical oriented
- one should take notice of the epoch-transgressing idea of the conception of
the "ex oriente lux" - religiosity and spiritualism.
in the West - America
America's discovery of Buddhism in the 19th century
was mainly an affair of intellectuals: "Most Americans remained apathetic
or ignorant" about Asian religions in general and those who did had to
rely on European ethnographic and orientalist literature. There was misunderstanding
what Buddhism really was: the famous American author Ralph Waldo Emerson, who
had a deep interest in Asian religions, still in 1845 called the Bhagavad-gt?
a "much renowned book of Buddhism", and in 1906 Paul Carus was still
struggling with the fact that interested Americans still confused Hinduism and
Besides very few academics it was mainly American protestant
missionaries who were interested in the Buddhism as one of the religions they
had to deal with in the regions they were trying to convert. Due to their proselytizing
strategy Buddhism had to be and was brandished as being perfectly opposed to what
Tweed has identified as markstones of American Victorian culture: "theism,
individualism, activism, and optimism", which meant: Buddhism was atheistic,
against individualism, passive and pessimistic. This period lasted approximately
until the publication of Edwin Arnold's poetic and sympathetic version of the
Buddha's life, The Light of Asia, in 1879 which was pathetically received by a
big number of educated Americans.
The next influx of Buddhism, which then
marked the beginning what has been labelled as "American Buddhism" with
European or white Americans as ist main supporters, came with and after the World's
Parliament of Religions, held at the World Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. The
interest in and the attraction to Buddhism or what was thought to be Buddhism
had steadily risen during the seventies and eighties and the showdown between
representants of the main Asian religions, especially of Hinduism and Buddhism,
and their Christian invitors, who had invited them mainly to finally show their
own superiority and the inferiority of the guest, fell on fertile ground: the
sympathy for the Asian party had increased immensely until the end of the exhibition
after which the first America on American ground, that a Swiss-American business-man
from New York, Charles Strauss, took the three refuges, tri±araÏa,
from Anag?rika Dharmap?la. The strongest impact of participants of the World
Parliament was definitely achieved by this very Dharmap?la and his Japanese S?t?-Zen
counterpoart Shaku S?en; both returned to the States to lecture on Buddhism
and were in close contact with Paul Carus (see below).
As had already been
mentioned, American contribution to the academic study of Buddhism was if not
undeveloped so at least underdeveloped. The major contribution was Henry Clark
Warren's Buddhism in Translation (1896) while an earlier work of an American Buddhologist
and Tibetologist, W. Woodville Rockhill's The Life of the Buddha and the Early
History of his Order (Derived from Tibetan Works in the Bkah-Hgyur and Bstan-Hgyur),
had already published in 1884, however with the well-known British Oriental publisher
Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.Ltd. in London.
It was the German-born
Paul Carus (1852 - 1919), the editor of the journals The Open Court and Monist,
who was one of the most fervent propagators of Buddhism in America around the
end of the saeculum. Carus, whose major aim was the reconciliation of religion
and rationalism and sciences, was a kind of mediator between the Asian Buddhist
leaders like Anag?rika Dharmap?la and Shaku S?en lecturing on Buddhism in America
after the World Parliament of Religions, the European literature, orientalist
and literary, and the American interested audience and readers.
Asian Buddhists in America have been the Chinese worker-immigrants coming to the
United States in the wake of the Californian goldrush and settling subsequently
as traders and workers at the West Coast. The first Chinese temple in 1853 in
the States is attributed to the activity of the Chinese Sze Yap Company in Chinatown
of San Francisco; it was not merely a Buddhist structure but a rather amalgam
institution devoted to the goddess of Heaven (Tin Hou Temple : Tianhou ¤ÑÔ).
However, the willingness of Americans even interested in Asian religions to see
any connection between what was received in these times as Buddhism and the religious
practices of these first Asian immigrants on American soil, was low, and so was
the possibility to identify the religious activities of these mostly illiterate
and non-educated Chinese workers who were without any support from religious specialists
such as Buddhist monks: thus the elements of Chinese religion practiced in America
was seen as "heathendom". This situation changed when the first wave
of Japanese immigrants arrived from around 1885 on. It was especially the reformed
Pure-Land denomination J?do-shin-sh?, most Japanese on the Archipelago were affiliated
to (and officially still are), which started mission in the United States in order
to provide the used Buddhist service to the Japanese diaspora but also with
the idea of gaining followers beneath the majority of white "Caucasian"
Tweed in his book on "The American Encounter with Buddhism"
has distinguished three types of Buddhists for the early period (1844-1912):
1. the esoteric (or occult) type who usually had connections with the Theosophical
Society around Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott; this type was rather eclectic,
looking for "spiritual" resources behind the traditions he referred
to. 2. The rationalist type who corresponded most to the German Buddhists of the
first generation. This type is represented best by Paul Carus, but it should be
kept in mind that there were indirect connections to the first type through the
fact that the main propagator of this type of Buddhism, Anag?rika Dharmap?la,
was coming from the Theosophical tradition and the "monist" idea that
matter and spirit were unified by the fact that they were "regulated by the
same natural laws". 3. The romantic type, who subscribed to a kind of
integral, individual and empirical move towards Buddhism mainly in its existing
forms in Japan. This type was represented by aethetically oriented people and
artists like Ernest Fenollosa, William Sturgis Bigelow, who both received the
Bodhisattva-vows in the Tendai-tradition at Hiei-zan near Kyoto, and the widely
read Lafcadio Hearn of British-Greek origin.
The first period of Buddhism
in America was determined by the reception of Buddhist literature, primary and
secondary, via Europe and its Orientalists, but also by intellectuals being attracted
directly to Buddhist philosophy and practice without a direct study of the sources.
It may be described as an intellectual cocktail based on some "Buddhist"
books - which may be called "second hand" because they were written
or compiled by Westerners - and Protestant Buddhism brought in by European Buddhologist
literature and the lectures of Dharmap?la, mixed with some exotic, but real Japanese
"Pure-Land"-Buddhism cherries and a bit of Zen-spices contributed by
people like Shaku S?en and Daisetsu Suzuki.
The situation after World
War II of the occupation of Japan, the Korean War and the Vietnam War and the
protest reaction led to a boom and a popularisation of mainly "Zenist"
Buddhist ideas and practices through the so-called "beat"-generation,
represented for instance by authors like Jack Kerouac ("Dharma Bums"),
Gary Snyder and others, which was one conditio sine qua non for the academic preoccupation
with Buddhism which itself then was still intensified and extended with the influx
of Tibetan Buddhism in America in the aftermath of the exodus of Tibetan Buddhist
masters during the occupation of Tibet to the Indian exile through the Red Army.
Aspects of Buddhism in the West as an Object of Study and as a Practiced Religion
- Differences and Similarities in German-speaking countries and America
I have tried to show in the last two chapters, Buddhism in Germany had developed
in close connection with the study of its primary sources, mainly of the Pali-canon,
and that it was this kind of intellectual-academic Pali-Buddhism which dominated
the Buddhist scene in the that country until the end of World War II. In America
the impact of Buddhist studies on the development on Buddhism as a practice religion
was rather low and Buddhism was mainly represented by the circles of Asian immigrants,
the Japanese standing on the first front but the activities restricted by the
Japanese Immigration Exclusion Act in 1924 and again by the internation of Japanese-Americans
after the United States entered World War II against Japan. After World War II,
however, the situation in both region seemed to become inverted somehow, as in
the late fifties and the sixties there was a first trend of American Zen-practicioners
to study their Buddhist textual and cultural tradition, while Buddhists in Germany
concentrated more and more on meditation only, neglecting the study of Buddhism
as an object of research. Interestingly enough this did not change significantly
with the advent of new forms of Buddhism to the West, especially Tibetan traditions.
This last wave of Buddhist advent in the West is, as is well known, closely
connected with the case of Tibet. After the Dalai Lama had fled to India in 1959
and more and more Tibetans had followed him into exile some of these Tibetans
went to America and to European countries: Switzerland, for instance, has a rather
fair community of exile-Tibetans and there is even a full-fledged Tibetan monastery
in Rikon, a small village near Zürich. The time-table of the "dharma
arriving in the West when the iron birds will fly in the sky", as the Indo-Tibetan
patriarch Padmasaòbhava prophecied the spread of (Tibetan) Buddhism into
the West, was almost the same in Europe as it was in America, though there
was already an active group of Tibetan affiliation in Germany from 1952 on, the
Arya Maitreya MaÏ¯ala of the German-born Lama Govinda alias Ernst Lothar
Hoffmann (1898-1985). There is, however, also a difference in both encounters
which again fits to the general lines of development: while only a few German
became full-fledged Buddhist monks or nuns in one of the various Tibetan traditions,
there were not a few Americans who took the robe and even entered the classical
scholarly education like the most known of these, Robert Thurman. I think that
it will be an interesting experience for the future to see how Tibetan Buddhist
traditions will be presented and represented in the West after the first period
of enthusiastic and also romantic reception seems to come to an end.
difference between Germany and America seems to be that there are not only fewer
Western monks and nuns in the German-speaking countries, but that there the is
also one difference in social behaviour of those whom Charles Prebish has called
"scholar-practicioners": While in America scholars who are at the
same time Buddhists, laymen or ordained, are usually quite outspeaking about this
fact, we have, especially in Germany, the problem that even scholars who are members
of Buddhist groups and the official organization of German Buddhists, the DBU
(Deutsche Buddhistische Union, "German Buddhist Union"), will usually
not so easily come forth with a statement. This seems to indicate that at least
in the German-Speaking world Buddhist scholars being at the same time practicing
Buddhists are not necessarily ashamed to show that they are actually Buddhists
but still clinge to the somehow "traditional" idea that being a scholar
means to be objective and that objectivity is not compatible with the confession
to any form of religion or faith. The consequence of this is also that the field
of public relation of Buddhism in Germany, especially performed by the DBU, is
only represented by a few people with academic background in Buddhist studies,
although there seems to be a tendency on the homepage of the DBU to create links
to the relevant academic websites.
I have just mentioned the DBU several times.
This institution marks, as far as I know, another difference not only between
Germany but also other European countries and America. While in America there
is no and also obviously no need for a unified national association, the legal
situation for religious groups in a Germany is a specific one. To put it into
an actual context one may point out the debate of German politicians in the wake
of the 11th September to abolish the privileagues for religious associations (Vereinigungen,
Vereine) which is of course mainly aiming at and against Islamic fundamentalists.
Because of a couple of reasons a social group - and religious groups are only
recognized as a group in this sense - will try to get the status of "public
utility" ("Gemeinnützigkeit") and than the status of an "association"
("Verein"). The DBU was founded in 1955 as the "German Buddhist
Society" ("Deutsche Buddhistische Gesellschaft") and changed its
name into "German Buddhist Union" in 1958. The next step was the attempt
to be recognized as a "Corporation of Public Law" ("Körperschaft
des öffentlichen Rechts") in 1985 which would have legally brought the
DBU on the same level as the other officially achknowledged religions, including
the two main Christian Churches. The advantages would have been a higher degree
of public representation, a formal delimination against so-called New Religious
Movements, but also financal support by the state and the accession to the
state-controlled media like radio and TV. The application was, however, turned
down because the constitutional prerequisitions - a formally fixed common religious
confession, no adequate organizational structure, a guaranty of continuity
- were not fulfilled. 1985 the DBU, on its annual members' assemblance, prepared
and founded the "Buddhist Religious Community in Germany" ("Buddhistische
Religionsgemeinschaft in Deutschland" : abbrev. BRG). The common confession
is based on the Three Refuges, the Four Noble Truths and the Tenfold Noble Path;
the "German Buddhist Union e.V., Buddhist Religious Community" ("Deutsche
Buddhistische Union e.V., Buddhistische Religionsgemeinschaft"), as it was
called from 1989 on, also publishes a magazine called "Lotus Leaves - Magazine
for Buddhism" ("Lotusblätter - Magazin für Buddhismus").
The problems involved in the described process shows the difficulty of bringing
together the different traditions of Buddhism in one common ecomenical association
but also shows its necessity. In Germany's smaller neighbour, Austria, this process
was succesfull in sofar as the "Buddhist Religious Community in Austria"
("Buddhistische Religionsgemeinschaft in Österreich") was already
recognized as a Religious Community in 1982, is also publishing its own magazine
and has even achieved to establish the teaching Buddhist religion in special school-classes.
Charles Prebish has described the situation of Buddhism in the West as one
of two classes or of two Buddhisms: there is the Buddhism of the Western adepts
and, more or less present, the Buddhism of the Asian communities there. Though
this picture was mainly developed on the situation in North-America, it also stands
true for most of the European countries with a more or less high degree of Asian
citizens or immigrants. This means, that in general the Western Buddhists and
the Asian Buddhists do not have to do with each other, even if they may well use
the same cult-center, the same tempel, being even ordained in the same ordination-lineage.
As has been stated, the Westerners tend to lay more importance on the personal
practice of meditation, while the Asian Buddhists are more devoted to the traditional
Buddhist activities like sponsoring the monks, being parts of the rituals and
celebrating the traditional festivals.
For instance, depending on the existence
of a colonial history, there are almost no or only few Asian immigrants who are
Buddhists. Buddhist communities, as pointed out before, developed from the beginning
of the 20th century on totally independently from Asian traditions, and the few
cases in which, for instance, Asian, mainly Therav?da-monks, were brought to Germany,
the experiment failed very soon, the monks returning to their home-countries.
It was not before the sixties that a number of Buddhist Asians, mostly Campuchean
and Vietnamese refugees, dropped into West-European countries in small numbers.
These South-East-Asians eventually founded small Buddhist centers, very often
without any support from a monk or priest but to cultivate their national identity
in the small exile-groups abroad. In this case then the relation between the Asian
Buddhist and the "white Buddhists" was the same as in America: a situation
of mutual abstinence. Groups of Tibetan affiliation fit into this scheme as
they usually have no Tibetan member or - in the centers in the city - only one
leading Tibetan teacher.
This seems to reflect a continuity in the reception
of Buddhism either in America - and one could add to some extent: Australia -
or in Europe which goes back to different "transmission-lines": while,
as indicated, it was Buddhist studies, mainly of Therav?da-Buddhism with the only
exception of France, which led to the first Buddhist communities consisting of
non-Asian praciticioners with no guidance from a traditionally trained Asian master,
the beginning of interest in Buddhism in America was lying in a different situation:
it was the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in which prompted the advent
and stay of some Buddhist Asians in the U.S. as well as the first broader interest
of educated Americans. The most impressive figure of An?g?rika Dharmap?la, Occultism,
Mah?bodhi-Society and the Theosophists mark the forth and back between South-East
Asian Buddhism and America. The second Buddhist personality who stayed in America
for a longer period and had a larger impact on American Buddhism later was Daisetsu
Teitar? Suzuki, propagating Japanese Zen.
The activities of most German Buddhists
is very often more restricted to their own group than on ecumenical goals, despite
the activities of some leading personalities, which is also reflected by the problems
in the formation of the DBU, its common Buddhist confession and the fact that
some groups did not join the DBU, while American Buddhists consider themselve
rather naturally as belonging to a certain tradition because they usually do not
have the conflict and the obligation of ecumenity which is caused by trans-fractional
There is another difference between e.g. American Buddhism
and Buddhism in Europe, closely connected to the first fact: so-called "Engaged
Buddhism", an outcome of Buddhist ecumene and Buddhist reform movements and
reflecting socially the core of the Buddhist ethics of compassion and charity,
is not as developed in Europe as it is in America. One of the reasons for this
- admittetly formulated a bit extremely - that most of the Buddhists in German-speaking
countries are still on a kind of "self-experience-trip", usually in
the framework of their own tradition-line. The last point may be illustrated by
the harsh reaction of the Tibetan Kagyud-fraction of the Danish Lama Ole Nydahl
on the dispute over the correct incarnation of the passed Karma-pa. When people
of this group are asked about their understanding themselves as Buddhists they
usually first refer to a vague conception of universal Buddhism and then immediatelty
jump on the group-level, emphasizing that their correct understanding of Buddhism
is the one represented by the representative of the late Karma-pa, Lama Ole, how
he is called by his first name.
Another reason for the more individual
character of the already mentioned hesitation of scholars to come out as Buddhists
and the tendency of German Buddhists to act very universal on the outside and
very sectarian on the inside, comes from the general religious situation in Germany:
the two big Christian "official Churches" ("Amtskirchen"),
the Catholic and the Protestant Church, have a kind of monopoly not only in terms
of traditional social standing of being the overall accepted religious affiliation-lines
but also on the juridical side, because they both have so-called "concordance-treaties"
("Konkordatsverträge") between the German state and the representatives
of these Churches. One of the effects of these regulations is that these Churches
are subsided by a "church-tax" ("Kirchensteuer") which is
automatically collected by the state from the salary of every German working individual
unless he does not explicitely proclaim his not-belonging to one of these Churches.
Another effect of this system goes right into the heart of the academic aspect:
religion as a topic is officially taught at the Theological Faculties in German
universities, which are normally state-universities and are funded by the
state but in terms of personal policy controlled by the Churches; this is more
important for our issue than it sounds because quite some of the chairs for Religious
Studies in Germany are situated in Theological faculties and everybody teaching
there has to be a member of the respective Church (Protestant or Catholic). The
high degree of social acceptance of the official Churches almost naturally leads
to a suspicion against everything which German society uses to label by the pejorative
word "sect" ("Sekte"), starting from other Christian groups
and communities outside both mainstream-Churches and extending to Asian religious
What is missing in Germany is the bringing-together of the academic
study of mostly philosophical mainstream Buddhism with the study of positive religion
which is or should be normally done in Religious Studies programs. Considering
the importance of Buddhism in the public discourse there is a need for integral
Buddhist Studies courses which, up to now, do not really exist at German universities.
While a lot of American have whole programs of Buddhist studies with its involved
manpower and output, usually and very often located at Institutions for Religious
Studies, where as many as possible aspects of Buddhism are treated, the situation
in the German-speaking world ist quite different. An indication for this situation
is, that it is only from 2001 on that Germany has a Numata chair of Buddhist studies
at the University of Hamburg, while there were several of them in the United States
and elsewhere. Besides these there are other academic institutions devoted
to Buddhist Studies and / or established by Buddhist groups such the Naropa-Institute,
Boulder, Colorado, or the Hsilai-University in Rosemead, California. Being
more specific on this: there is only on chair of Buddhist Studies in Austria (Vienna,
Prof. Ernst Steinkellner) and one in Switzerland (Lausanne, Prof. Tom Tillemans),
and in Germany only Hamburg comes close to represent a course in Buddhist studies
in general, led and supervised by Prof. Lambert Schmitthausen. The monopersonal
character of all these chairs reflects another speciality: Buddhist Studies in
German or German-Speaking Universities are still traditionally oriented towards
Classical Indological Studies, which, in the German context, means philological
and philosophical research on texts in Sanskrit, P?li and Tibetan. East-Asian
languages are less common and East-Asian forms of Buddhism and also modern vernacular
of Buddhism of such traditions as Therav?da and Tibetan are rather neglected in
the academic program. One could dare to foresay that it will still last some time
until the professional study of Buddhism becomes integrated in the Religious Study
programs of German-speaking universities, closing the gap between the pure historical
study of Buddhism as a text-restricted tradition and the religious reality in
Buddhist countries and opening the field to an inclusion of hitherto neglected
fields such as Chinese Buddhism, contemporary Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhism in modern
Therav?da-countries and Buddhism in the West - an ambitious program, indeed, which
will need, of course, the support from more sides than it has now.
The important question for the future of Buddhism as a global and
ecumenical religion will certainly be, how the different communities will be able
to deal with the the tensions between particularism and globalism, between "Western"
and "Eastern" forms of Buddhism, between tradition and modernism and
bring these tensions into a balance.
A touchstone for this would be the issue
of the re-ordination of nuns in the Therav?da-tradition where you may find all
these aspects involved: the Therav?da saôgha-mainstream sticking to what
they see as their local tradition - "no nuns" - versus the more ecumenical
oriented Buddhists, and finally the traditionalist, antifeminist view versus the
idea of giving room to more equality of sexes even in the saôgha. The task
for the future will probably be to trace the common ground of Buddhism despite
its and in all its diversity - referring to our example of nun-ordinations this
would mean that the representatives of the Therav?da-Mah?saôgha have to
accept the legitimacy and legacy of the Mah?y?na nun-order (bhikãuÏ-saôgha)
from a Chinese cultural background as a first step for oikumene, even if they
do not vote for the reintroduction of an own bhikkhuÏ-saôgha. The academic
study of Buddhism may, of course, not be able to decide what is that common ground,
the connecting essence of all Buddhist traditions - so modest we must be as scholars,
I would say - but scholarship can illustrate all the facets of Buddhism in
an objective way which then may lead to a more interfractional view of Buddhism
as a whole and which may enable to avoid sectarianist approaches and efforts of
monorepresentation of and by one group as the "real and true Buddhism".
Academic studies of Buddhism may also contribute to a "demystification"
of Buddhism and its traditions in the West to make clear that it is not some esoteric
and exotic show-off paired with criticism of civilization so often found with
Western Buddhism but a living religion which has all legacy and rights in the
context of multireligious societies and communities. Buddhism has to keep and
to develop its role in the intercultural, intersocial and interreligious for a
better representation of Buddhism as what it is: a world religion which has to
contribute a lot of its heritage to the process of global development towards
peace and understanding.
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Studies in Buddhology, Philosophy & Buddhist Scriptural Language, Presented
by Leading Scholars Worldwide, 131-140
PELLIOT, PAUL, Notes on Marco Polo,
2 vol., Paris 1959-1963
PITTMAN, DON A., Toward a Modern Chinese Buddhism.
Taixu's Reforms, Honolulu 2001
PREBISH, CHARLES S.; TANAKA, KENNETH K. (ed.),
The Faces of Buddhism in America, Berkeley / Los Angeles 1998
Foe Koue Ki ou Relation des royaumes bouddhiques: voyage dans la Tartarie, dans
l'Afghanistan et dans l'Inde exécuté, à la fin du IVe siècle,
par Chy Fa Hian. Traduit du Chinois et commenté
revu, complété, et augmenté d'éclaircissements nouveaux
par MM. Klaproth et Landresse ("Foguo-ji or Report of the Buddhist Kingdoms:
Travels in the Tartary, Afghanistan and in India Carried out by Shi Faxian at
the End of the 4th Century. Translated from Chinese and commented
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RONCE, PHILIPPE, Guide des centres Bouddhistes
en France, Paris 1998
SARKISYANZ, EMANUEL, Buddhist Background of the Burmese
Revolution, The Hague 1965
SARKISYANZ, EMANUEL, "Die Religionen Kambodschas,
Birmas, Laos, Thailands und Malayas" ("The Religions of Kamboja, Burma,
Laos, Thailand and Malaya"), in: HÖFER, ANDRÁS, PRUNNER, GERNOT,
KANEKO, ERIKA, BEZACIER, LOUIS, SARKISYANZ, MANUEL, Die Religionen Südostasiens
("The Religions of South-East Asia"), Stuttgart 1975 (Die Religionen
der Menschheit, Bd.23), 384-560
SARKISYANZ, EMANUEL, "Fragen zum Problem
des chronologischen Verhältnisses des buddhistischen Modernismus in Ceylon
und Birma" ("Questions to the Problem of the Chronological Relationship
of Buddhist Modernism in Ceylon and Birma"), in: BECHERT, HEINZ (ed.), Buddhism
in Ceylon and Studies on Religious Syncretism in Buddhist Countries (Symposien
zur Buddhismusforschung, I), Göttingen 1978, 127-133
"Archaeology and Protestant Presuppositions in the Study of Indian Buddhism",
in: History of Religions 31 (1991), 1-23, reprinted in: SCHOPEN, GREGORY, Bones,
Stones and Buddhist Monks. Collected Papers on the Archaeology, Epigraphy, and
Texts of Monastic Buddhism in India, Honolulu 1997, 1-22
SHUPE, ANSON, "S?ka
Gakkai and the Slippery Slope from Militancy to Accomodation", in: Mullins,
Mark R., Shimazono Susumu, Swanson, Paul L. (ed.), Religion & Society in Modern
Japan, Berkeley 1993, 231-238
SKROBANEK, WALTER, Buddhistische Politik in
Thailand mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des heterodoxen Messianismus ("Buddhist
Politics in Thailand with Special Emphasis on Heterodox Messianism"), Wiesbaden
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TWEED, THOMAS A., ""Opening the Tomb of the Buddha":
Buddhism in the Early Years of the American Oriental Society", in: Newsletter
of the American Oriental Society 21 (May 1996) (online-version)
RÖTTGEN), VICTOR & VICTORIA, Der Schatten des Dalai Lama, Sexualität,
Magie und Politik im tibetischen Buddhismus ("The Shadow of the Dalai Lama,
Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism"), Düsseldorf 1999
VERHOEVEN, MARTIN J., "Americanizing the Buddha: Paul Carus and the Transformation
of Asian Thought", in: PREBISH, TANAKA (1998), 207-227
The Buddhist Revival in China, Cambridge, Mass. 1968
The Genesis of an Orientalist. Thomas William Rhys Davids and Buddhism in Sri
Lanka, Delhi 1984
YUYAMA AKIRA, Eugène Burnouf, The Background to his
Research into the Lotus Sutra, Tokyo 2000 (Bibliotheca Philologica et Philosophica
WASSERSTEIN, BERNARD, The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln,
New Haven / London 1988
ZÄHLER, CLAUDIA, Die Bibliothek der buddhistischen
Gemeinden in Leipzig. Übersicht handschriftlicher Einträge ("The
Library of the Buddhist Communities in Leipzig. Surview of the Handwritten Notes"),
unpublished thesis, Leipzig 2000
 On early European perception of the "Outside-World" see: Campbell
 On Megasthenes and his reports on religion, mainly Hinduism, cp.
Dahlquist (1962); Batchelor (1994), 7f..
 See Batchelor (1994), 28ff..
The Greek verb gignósko, "to realize", from which the word is
derived, is etymologically related to (pra)jñ? (Indo-European *vgneh3).
 See Halbfass (1990), 17.
 Batchelor (1994), 28; de Jong (1987),
 Traditur quod Buddam, principem dogmatis eorum, e latere suo virgo
generarit; quoted after de Jong (1987), 6, note 12.
 See the discussion
of the name in Pelliot (1959-1963), 823f., s.v. Sagamoni Burcan.
Pelliot (1938), 409.
 For the change from Bodhisattva to Iosaphat see Pelliot
(1959-1963), 750ff., s.v. Iosafat. In the story Barlaam is an ascetic convincing
Josaphat / Bodhisattva to renounce worldly life and probably an extension of the
last motive of the famous episode of the four in the Buddha-vita, the ±ramaÏa;
it is difficult to find an underlying Indian word for the name: Pelliot (1959-1963),
81f., s.v. Barlam, refers to the interpretation as a corrupt form of purohita,
"royal (brahmanical) priest". On the legend see recently Mac Queen (1998),
who's analysis is, however, tendentious.
 See de Jong (1987), 6f.. Pelliot
(1959-1963), 752, s.v. Iosafat, does even point out to East-Asian missionaries'
references to the legend - there was a Chinese translation from before 1610 by
the missionary Longobardi called Sheng-Ruosafa-shimo ¸tY¼"ªk©l¥½
- which would indicate that the legend was somehow used for Christian propaganda
which presupposes the identity of Buddha and Josaphat in the style of the Laozi-huahu-jing
¦Ñ¤l¤ÆJ¸g: Buddha is nobody else than
the Christian saint.
 See: de Jong (1987), 10-13.
 See Almond
 Cp. v.Glasenapp (1960), 9ff..
 v.Glasenapp (1960),
 "Milestones" in this process were the translations of
the Bhagavadgt? through Charles Wilkins (1785), of K?lid?sa's Öakuntal? (1789)
and of Manu's lawbook (1794) through William Jones. The Asiatik Society was already
founded in 1784.
 See his "Indische Alterthumskunde" ("Indian
Antiquity and Archaeology"), 2 vol., 1Bonn 1947, Bonn 1852.
Landresse's quotation of Rémusat on pp.XLIX, in which the French scholar
still feels urged to emphasize that Buddhism in the 5th century was, besides China,
indeed the religion of India and major parts of Central Asia.
 See de
Jong (1987), 19f., and the detailed study by Yuyama (2000).
 Tweed (1996);
see also Nattier (1998), 183.
 Cp. de Jong (1987), 20ff., and especially
 On Rhys-Davids' biography and career see Wickremeratne
 On the development in the countries of Therav?da see Bechert
 I use the term here to highlight certain features of Buddhist
modernism in a similar way as "Protestant Buddhism" is used to describe
a certain Western approach in Buddhist studies for which see: Schopen (1991).
 On the state of the field of Indian Buddhism at present see now: Kantowsky
 Cp. Bond (1988); Gombrich, Obeyesekere (1988), esp. 201ff..
See Sarkisyanz (1965) and (1978).
 Sarkisyanz (1978), 131, distinguishes
between the Burmese "revolutionary mass movement" ("revolutionäre
Massenbewegung") and the Ceylonese "evolutionary way" without the
phenomenon of a militant mass movement ("
auf evolutionärem Wege,
ohne daß vorher buddhistischer Modernismus als Teil einer militanten Massenbewegung
 See Skrobanek (1976), 31ff.; on Mongkut see
 Pittman (2001); Holmes-Welch, 51ff..
72ff.; on a study on one example of a Chinese layman see now Goldfuss (2001).
 Buddhist modernism, based on the two pillars of an "Engaged",
socially oriented movement and a tendency to study Buddhism according to the methods
of academic and scientific research has been - what you all here know better than
me - continued in Taiwan in various ways; Western literature on the subject are
Günzel (1998), concentrating more exclusively on the developments in the
saôgha - and Jones (1999), covering a broader historical context.
See Winston (1992).
 Cp. Hardacre (1984).
 An overview on the
history and the contemporary development of S?ka-gakkai is given in: Shupe (1993).
 On the development of Buddhism in Meiji-Japan see Ketelaar (1990).
Cp. Buswell (1997), and Buswell (1992), esp. 21ff.; on lay-Buddhists see Chung
 This input can still be seen in "guides" on national
Buddhism(s) as in Ronce (1998) for France, in which is found, besides the overwhelming
number of Tibetan and Zen-centers, quite a number of Buddhist centers coming from
a "French-Indo-Chinese" background (see the list on p.535f.).
This is the result of a questionnary made among University students from Germany,
Austria, England, Portugal, the USA and South-American countries: Höllinger
 On Zhaokong see Welch (1968) 186-190; for a biography see
 On Steinke's biography cp. Hecker (1996), 184-197.
On the Theosophical Society and its relation to Buddhism, especially in the German
city of Leipzig see: Mürmel (2001). Mürmel has demonstrated that the
officially acknowledged opinion, that the German Buddhists and the Theosophists
did already split at an early time, is a myth created by early German Buddhists.
 On Austria and its dependency on German Buddhist groups before World-War
II see Hutter (2001), 99f.; Switzerland can almost be neglected in this early
period: cp. Baumann's overview.
 Der Buddhist, Unabhängige deutsche
Zeitschrift für das Gesamtgebiet des Buddhismus, hrsg.v. Karl Seidenstücker,
Leipzig 1905 - 1910(Buddhistischer Verlag (Dr.Hugo Vollrath)), called: Die Buddhistische
Welt. Deutsche Monatsschrift für Buddhismus. Organ der deutschen P?li-Gesellschaft,
hrsg.v. Walter Markgraf, also called: Indien und "Die Buddhistische Welt",
Deutsche Zeitschrift für das Gesamtgebiet des Buddhismus u. der indischen
Kultur, hrsg.v. Walter Markgraf, Breslau ab 1907, Buddhistische Warte. Eine Monatsschrift
für Buddhismus und allseitige Kultur auf buddhistischer Grundlage. Offizielles
Deutsches Organ der Mah?bodhi-Gesellschaft, hrsg.v. Karl Seidenstücker, Leipzig,
ab 1908, Der Pfad. Eine buddhistische Zeitschrift, hrsg.v. "Bund für
buddhistisches Leben" (zugleich Deutscher Zweig der Mahabodhi-Gesellschaft),
München-Neubiberg ab 1923 (Oskar-Schloss-Verlag). Some of these journals
are only available at the Library of the Institute of Religious Studies, University
 Buckow (1996).
 For such a money-scandal around Seidenstücker
and the Mahabodhi-Society see Zähler (2000), 5.
 Zähler (2000),
 I am not going into an analysis of the diversified spiritual and
religious plurality of this period including what has been labelled New Age, a
trend towards Indian (Hindu) spirituality and "Guru-ism", but it should
be noted that the reception of Buddhism in this time was only one puzzle-stone
in a whole "market" of religious and spiritual ideas and practices.
 Tweed (1992), XVII.
 In a letter to his sister: Tweed (1992),
 Tweed (1992), XVIII.
 Tweed (1992), 13.
(1992), 39f., with other examples of Buddhist "converts"; Fields (1998),
196. Dharmap?la founded the first branch of his Mah?bodhi Society on his second
visit to the United States in 1887.
 It was definitely S?en among all
the Japanese Buddhists from various traditions who appealed Americans' spiritual
expectations towards Buddhism most; on the Japanese delegation at the parliament
see Ketelaar (1990), 139ff..
 Paul Carus in his Gospel of the Buddha has
only one quotation from Warren's book, the rest of his compilation is taken from
European, English and German, sources.
 Verhoeven (1998), 208.
In the words of Carus' "follower" Thomas B. Wilson: "
between religion and science is impossible in Buddhism." (quoted after Tweed
 Tweed (1992), 34f.; cp. also Chandler (1998), 16, who refers
to another structure in San Francisco, Kong Chow Temple; see also Fields (1998),
 See Bloom (1998), 32ff..
 Tweed (1992), 35ff., esp. 38.
 Tweed (1992), Chapter 3, 48ff., and Table 2, 164f..
 Tweed (1992),
 Tweed (1992), 191f., note 54.
 Some Americans like the Indologist
E.W.Hopkins complained about the difference between the "real" Buddhism
of the texts and the Buddhism of the self-declared American Buddhists, while missionaries
would rather emphasize the difference between the idealistic character of intellectualists'
Buddhism in America and Buddhism practiced in Asia, especially in Japan: Tweed
 Tweed (1992), 46, emphasizes the popularity of Arnold's biography,
but also of "handbooks" like Olcott's Buddhist Catechism (1881) and
especially Carus' Gospel of the Buddha (1894).
 On Suzuki's "orientalism"
and his propagation of Zen as an aesthetic and spiritual essence of Japanese spirit
see Faure (1993), 52ff..
 On Tibetan Buddhism in America see Lavine (1998),
 On Govinda see Hecker (1996), 84ff.; on the ?rya Maitreya MaÏ¯ala
cp. Baumann (1995), 146ff..
 See Bitter (1988). On full-time and part-time
training for Buddhists in the Tibetan traditions see Hahlbohm-Helmus (2001). Hahlbohm-Helmus
calls these retreats "light conceptions" ("Licht-Konzeptionen":
95), compared with the traditional Tibetan forms.
 This is marked by a
series of scandals in the Tibetan diaspora-communities and mainly Western-dominated
circles and is reflected, in my opinion, by publications like Lopez (1998), especially
and with personal statements in: Lopez (1995). In the German-speaking area the
process of "demystifying" Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism is on the one hand
done in excellent and balanced publications such as Dodin, Räther (1997;
see also the revised English edition) and Brauen (2000), but on the other hand
also lead by rather badly researched and polemically presented works such as Goldner
(1999) and Trimondi (1999), to whom a kind of response was made by von Brück
 Prebish, in: Prebish, Tanaka (1998), 9.
 On the DBU see
Baumann (1995), 183ff., and the self-representation on the DBU homepage: http://www.buddhismus-deutschland.de.
 See Baumann (1995), 309, quoting Bechert.
 It is important to
note the pure heuristic value of translating Verein with association: traditionally
a Verein - the etymologically closest English correspondence is probably union
- is a group in which citizens with a common interest in sports, arts, and other
cultural activities come together regularly; a Verein is, however, also a group
where ideological, religious and social interests are bundled. German law has
a special section for defining the requirements to be acknowledged as a Verein,
the first step being the recognition of common utility (Gemeinnützigkeit).
It is clear that in case of ideological and religious contents the readiness of
the official side to grant the Vereinsstatus is the lower the farer the represented
ideology or religion is away from European-German mainstream - e.g. Communism,
Islam, Buddhism, etc.. Religious groups with acclaimed Christian background have
other problems; they usually will not strive for recognition as a Verein but from
the very beginning to be admitted as a religion to gain the social and legal privileagues
connected to that status - they then are in clear competition and very often in
conflict with both Christian Churches in Germany.
 Mainly Christian denomination
as the Orthodox Church, Christian Free Churches, the Jewisch Cult Community, the
Anthroposophical Community of Christians (!), Jehova's Witnesses, and the "Union
of Free Religious Communities" ("Bund Freireligiöser Gemeinschaften
Deutschlands"): see Baumann (1995), 195.
 I deliberately avoid the
term "government" here, because there is definitely a difference between
German traditional conception of the state representing the people rather than
a specific government, while in the United States - and probably also in other
European countries - there is a stronger identification between government and
state so that the terms "government" and "governmental" -
there is no adjective corresponding to state like in German "staatlich"!
- obviously have a higher acceptance and are used more frequently.
is usually evaluated by the time of existance (5 - 30 years, depending on the
"federal state", "Bundesland"), the number of members (about
1/1000 of the population), the financial capital.
 See the homepage of
the association: http://www.buddhismus-austria.at. It should be noted that different
to the majority of totally secular states in the worlds (e.g. America, Taiwan,
France, Japan), in Germany and in Austria most of the schools are public institutions
in which religion - traditionally catholic or protestant - is a compulsory part
of the schedule. Students who do not attend the "religious class" ("Religionsunterricht")
of the two main Christian churches have to attend the substitutional classes in
"Ethics" ("Ethik") - there are other names in different federal
areas, as education is under the sovereignety of the federal states. There is
now a tendency to establish religious classes of other religions such as Islam.
 It should not pass unmarked that there are even some examples of direct
Buddhist racism claiming - by the way in the track of Theosophical race-theories
and not least with so-called "scholarly" arguments - that the right
legacy of Buddhism is "Western" in terms of late-nineteenth-century
"?ryanism" (I use my right of academic freedom not to quote names: everybody
familiar with the modern Buddhist "scene" in the West and some knowledge
of handling print media or the www on Buddhism should be able to trace the respective
publications and statements); this fact and the well-known Buddhist nationalisms
- most virulently seen in extreme Siòhala-Buddhism and some nationalist
Buddhist notions in Japan - just shows that Buddhism is in this respect just as
vulnerable as any other religion.
 On the different levels of being and
considering oneself a Buddhist see Freiberger (2001).
 As a narrative
pamphlet about this dispute from the angle of an "insider" cp. Lehnert
 These kind of reactions were common in interviews with members
of the local Kagyud-community in Würzburg, Germany, held by two students
of mine in the context of a course on "Der tibetische Buddhismus zwischen
Realität und Mythos" ("Tibetan Buddhism Between Reality and Myth")
at the University of Würzburg, winter term 1999/2000.
 There is a
tendency towards building private universities but up to the moment these are
mainly church-run institutions and some academies restricted to "pragmatic"
subjects such as economy, medicine, etc..
 Again we have here a German
word which is not fully compatible to its English formal correspondent word; in
English, the word "cult" would probably used for "Sekte";
the consequence is that the word "sect" seems to be less pejorative
and useable to a higher degree than in German.
 This may be shown again
by two personal examples: when I moved back from Asia, from Japan, to Germany
some years ago and I installed a Buddha statue in front of the window of my office
in our house, my landlord's wife asked: "Do you belong to a sect?" -
with a clear undertone of "Are you dangerous?" The other example usually
occurs when people ask me what kind of studies I do. The reaction to my answer:
"Religious Studies" is normally "Protestant or Catholic?"
 A book such as Buddhist Theology, edited by Roger Jackson and John Makransky,
is in my opinion a typical outcome of this American situation.
of California, Berkeley; Harvard University, University of Chicago, University
of Hawaii, Smith College, Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley.
University of Calgary, McGill University, University of Toronto; Europe: Oxford
University, University of London, University of Leiden (Holland), University of
Vienna (Austria). The chair in Hamburg is not yet found on the homepage of the
Numata Foundation: http://www.numatacenter.com
 An example but hopefully not a signal for the
rather negative development can be observed at a German academic institution of
long tradition which carries the title "Buddhist Studies" in its name,
at the Institute for Indology and Buddhist Studies (Seminar für Indologie
und Buddhismuskunde) in Göttingen, where, after the era of its director,
Prof. Heinz Bechert, there will be no special focus on Buddhist Studies any more.
 This has been shown masterly by Luis O. Goméz in his critical
contribution to the already mentioned collection of essays on "Buddhist Theology",
edited by Roger Jackson and John Makransky.