Buddhism in World Cultures
Comparative Perspectives
by Stephen C. Berkwitz, Editor
April 2006, 373pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-782-1
$103, £80, 90€, A142
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-787-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

As Asia ascends to centrality in the global economy, understanding the underpinnings of Asian culture becomes increasingly important. Buddhism, one of the largest and oldest of the major world religions, informs much of modern Asian life. This book details the contemporary features of the religion in the Asian areas where it predominates and in North America.

A comprehensive overview of modern Buddhism across cultures, showing how this ancient religion has adapted to recent social and political change.

Collecting the work of leading authorities on Buddhism in different societies around the world, this book details the state of the religion in Asian countries where it is a major cultural influence and in North America. The religion has changed to meet the challenges of modernity; its practitioners have incorporated those innovations and this work examines those changes in-depth.

A comprehensive overview of historical Buddhist practice grounds the reader for the entire nine chapters, each of which is organized by geographical area and follows the path Buddhism took as it spread across Asia and into North America. Each chapter presents field research and critical reflection on what constitutes modern Buddhism in one of nine countries or regions. Histories of Buddhism are common; this is the only source for in-depth information on modern Buddhism.


  • Photographs of contemporary Buddhist society and practices bring material to life
  • Wide-ranging glossary elucidates key concepts and terms across various Buddhist cultures
Stephen C. Berkwitz, PhD, is associate professor of religious studies at Missouri State University, Springfield, MO. His published works include Buddhist History in the Vernacular: The Power of the Past in Late Medieval Sri Lanka.


"Buddhism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives is very highly recommended as a welcome and informative addition to academic and community library Buddhist studies reference collections."—Midwest Book Review, November 1, 2006

"A generous reading of the text finds much to commend . . . Berkwitz’s excellent opening chapter introduces the reader to contemporary issues in historiography and how they apply to the study of Buddhism. . . . By Cultures, Berkwitz allows the instructor ample room for his or her own contrast, criticism, and creativity in the classroom."—Sophia, December 1, 2008
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