Agence France-Presse: Evidence

Buddhism and France history

R e s e a r c h A r t i c l e

Tibetan Buddhism in France: A Missionary Religion?
Lionel Obadia
Lecturer in Anthropology
Université Charles-de-Gaulle


Over the past ten years, an increasing amount of research has focused on the history of Buddhism in the West. General overviews including those of Rick Fields (1992) or Stephen Batchelor (1994), while providing detailed accounts of the propagation of Buddhism in North America and Europe, remain primarily descriptive. Case studies, on the other hand, while they tend to be somewhat more analytical, are often limited to a discussion of the arrival of a single school or branch of Buddhism in a specific context. Consequently, no general theory of Buddhist diffusion has been yet formulated. In addition, most of these studies deal with the consequences rather than the causes of the settlement of Buddhist traditions. The issues of acculturation, adaptation or change within Buddhism are indeed more frequently examined than the underlying processes of Buddhist dissemination. On another hand some interesting theoretical accounts of the diffusion of Buddhism in recent scholarship allow us to reexamine the Westward spread of Buddhism in the light of a "missionary" hypothesis.

1. The diffusion of Buddhism in the West: reception or transmission?

The diffusion and the settlement of Buddhism in the West are usually explained by means of two theoretical approaches, actually both related to a same explicative framework. The first, as proposed by Batchelor (1994), examines two types of factors: ideological changes in the West and cultural contacts between East and West. Batchelor thus accounts for the transformations of the Western attitudes toward Buddhism and the increasing contacts between Buddhists and Westerners, as a result of which the West has shifted its perception of Buddhism from a purely intellectual vision to an active engagement. A second and complementary approach, which goes beyond Western representations of the East and localized situation of contact between East and West, focuses upon the broader sociological context and conditions that have allowed for the penetration of Buddhist ideas into the West and the adoption of Buddhist practices, that is, the rise of Orientalism, the secularization of mainstream churches, and expanding religious pluralism.

You might also like
How to Focus Your Mind and Achieve ANY goal (
How to Focus Your Mind and Achieve ANY goal (www ...
Hinduism Explained In A Nut Shell Hinduism 101 What Do
Hinduism Explained In A Nut Shell Hinduism 101 What Do ...

Memories of perfect harmony  — Free Malaysia Today
We respected one another's values and beliefs, so much so that I filled my chest with teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Atheism and so on, in addition to the compulsory Islamic classes for all Muslim girls.

Kinyo MS-780H 2.0 Portable Speaker System with Love Heart Graphic specially designed with a cradle to fit all iPod nano and shuffle Support the latest 6G nano with build in antenna
Network Media Player (Kinyo)
  • Sliding 3.5 mm Audio Plug Docks with 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st Generation iPod Nano & 2nd Generation iPod Shuffle
  • 3.5mm Stereo AUX Input on back for other Audio Sources (iPhone, iPad, Android Tablets, PSP, MP3 / MP4 players, Smart Phones, Netbooks, Laptops, and other iPods...
  • Specially designed for iPod Nano 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th generations & also Works with 2nd generation iPod Shuffle
  • Powered by four (4) AA batteries (Sold Separately) or from any available USB port (USB power cable included)
  • Compatible with all Line-Out Audio Sources, Includes 3.5mm Audio Cable & USB Power Cable

Popular Q&A

Who was the leader of Buddhism in history?

The founde of the faith is Siddhartha Gutauma. Who lived in what is now Nepal about 500 years before Christ lived.

Related Posts