This introductory chapter begins with an overview of developments in American Buddhism. It then sets out the book's purpose, which is to flesh out the distinctive characteristics shaping Buddhism in postmodernity. Through a geographical focus on North American meditation-based convert communities, particularly those deriving from Theravada and Zen Buddhism, the book draws attention to the specific ways in which Buddhist modernism is being transformed. It argues that contemporary developments in American Buddhist meditation-based convert lineages cannot be adequately explained within the category of Buddhist modernism. The postmodern questioning of modernity's dismissal of the traditional and its embrace of diversity, hybridity, and pluralism have resulted in an environment in which many different forms of religious belief and activity have flourished.
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