Western Buddhism

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Western Buddhism is a term that has been sometimes used in modern, developed nations where Buddhism is still new. Some 'Western Buddhists' have used this term to refer to a type of Buddhism that relies less on rites, rituals, and ceremonies and places more emphasis on meditation.

It has many things in common with Modern Theravada but should not be considered the same. The use of the term "Western Buddhism" is first of all inappropriate. This is because of the following reasons:

  • Some of the nations included in the designation 'Western' are not even in the West, such as Australia and New Zealand.
  • By using the term 'Western' what is really meant to be done is to exclude Asians from the category.
  • It actually refers to white, European ancestry and black, African ancestry convert Buddhists and perhaps their children, but explicitly or at least implicitly excludes Asians.
  • Many Asian ancestry Buddhists live in modern developed 'Western' nations and were also born in these 'Western' nations.
  • In Sri Lanka and other countries, there is a growing trend toward moving toward the principles of Modern Theravada among lay and monastic Buddhists who have never even been to a 'Western' nation.

Therefore, the trend away from rites, rituals, and ceremonies should more accurately be called Modern Theravada without any use of the term 'Western.'