The Swans Came to Canada Too

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Earlier this year, the University of British Columbia hosted a landmark conference on Buddhism in Canada. Charles Prebish, one of the leading scholars in the area of North American Buddhism for many years, provided the keynote address: The Swans Came to Canada Too – Looking Backward and Looking Forward in North American Buddhism. Here is the video of his talk…

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Program sponsored by Buddhism and Contemporary Society Program, the Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation, the Institute of Asian Research, and the Department of Asian Studies. Following the change in immigration law by Canada and the United States in the mid-twentieth century, Buddhism exploded on the North American continent. Buddhism is now found everywhere: from the cover of TIME magazine to the Simpson’s TV show; from Leonard Cohen practicing as a Zen priest to the Dalai Lama visiting the White House. Some estimates place the number of Buddhists on the continent as high as six million. This paper traces the development of the study of North American Buddhism as it developed as a legitimate sub-discipline in the larger discipline of Buddhist Studies, and highlights both the similarities and differences between Canadian and American forms of Buddhism.

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