ERIC Number: EJ853720
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
Conceptions and Misconceptions about "Western Buddhism": Issues and Approaches for the Classroom
Berkwitz, Stephen C.
Teaching Theology & Religion, v7 n3 p141-152 Jul 2004
This article responds to the exponential growth in academic textbooks on Western or American Buddhism by arguing that popular trade books written by Buddhist teachers in the West make more effective tools for teaching and learning about the growth of Buddhism in western societies. The use of such texts in the classroom provides students with opportunities to exercise critical thinking and permits instructors to avoid conveying misleading interpretations about the practice, thought, and identities of Buddhists in North America and Europe. The pedagogical advantages of using what could be described as primary sources on Western Buddhism include promoting active learning techniques, muting the differences drawn between convert and ethnic Buddhist communities, and encouraging students to become aware of and refrain from Orientalist approaches towards describing and knowing the religious and/or cultural Other. A list of practical suggestions for classroom exercises using trade books written by Buddhist teachers is provided at the end.
Descriptors: Buddhism, Misconceptions, Textbooks, Critical Thinking, Active Learning, Teaching Methods, Religion Studies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A