The World's Lorne Matalon visits a touring display of ancient Tibetan relics in Mexico City and tells us how Buddhism is gaining popularity in mostly-Catholic Mexico.
BUDDHISM IN ANCIENT MEXICO
Book Reviewer Brian Bruya (Gaia.com)
"If there is a lake, the swans would go there." So said the 16th Karmapa when asked why he visited America in 1976. Of course, the Karmapa wasn't the first swan to go to the lake. In a BOOK of immense scope, Rick Fields surveys the history of Buddhism in America.
From the quasi-legendary Fu-sang in the 6th Century, to Asian immigrant communities, to the latest trends in American Buddhism, Fields goes in depth. Writing as a storyteller as much as a historian, he takes us back to the earliest European contacts with Buddhism.
Most notably, he covers Sir William Jones, who was about to go to America on the recommendation of Ben Franklin when at the last minute he fortunately chose to visit India instead. His work would influence the American Transcendentalists and eventually the great Theosophist and first American convert to Buddhism, Henry Steel Olcott.
A sympathetic writer, Fields is also meticulously inclusive. Besides the obvious transmitters, like Zen pioneers D.T. Suzuki and Roshi Philip Kapleau, Fields traces the forgotten influences of Paul Carus, Ernest Fenollosa, and Dharmapala. One memorable story is of the ex-Navy submarine mechanic Heng Ju, who walked (three steps then a kowtow) from San Francisco all the way to Seattle for a berry pie. Fields has countless stories that make "How the Swans Came to the Lake" a priceless contribution not only to Buddhism in America but to Buddhism itself.
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