The history of Buddhism has been characterized by an ongoing tension between attempts to preserve traditional ideals and modes of practice and the need to adapt to changing cultural conditions. Many developments in Buddhist history, such as the infusion of esoteric rituals, the rise of devotionalism and lay movements, and the assimilation of warrior practices, reflect the impact of widespread social changes on traditional religious structures. At the same time, Buddhism has been able to maintain its doctrinal purity to a remarkable degree. This volume explores how traditional Buddhist communities have responded to the challenges of modernity, such as science and technology, colonialism, and globalization. Editors Steven Heine and Charles S. Prebish have commissioned ten essays by leading scholars, each examining a particular traditional Buddhist school in its cultural context. The essays consider how the encounter with modernity has impacted the disciplinary, textual, ritual, devotional, practical, and socio-political traditions of Buddhist thought throughout Asia. Taken together, these essays reveal the diversity and vitality of contemporary Buddhism and offer a wide-ranging look at the way Buddhism interacts with the modern world.
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