Where do all Buddhists in America go?
No, this is not a Zen koan. The answer to this, and to almost every other question about American Buddhism, can be found in the comprehensive and enlightening book, The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. This unique reference book, an expanded edition of Buddhist America, features articles by today's foremost Buddhist teachers, detailed listings of over 1,000 meditation centers in the U.S. and Canada, and more.
Editor Don Morreale proclaims in the foreword that "Buddhism has gone mainstream," a popular refrain in innumerable recent articles on the subject. Morreale goes on to provide an in-depth exploration of this trend and its relationship to the ancient, multi-faceted roots of this religion.
Divided into four sections, representing different traditions, the book lists centers and meditation groups and provides addresses, phone numbers, information on the facilities, programs, and retreats offered, and, yes, even e-mail addresses. Buddhists are high-tech too, you know.
I was impressed by the sheer number of sanctuaries, especially those that have sprung up in the unlikeliest of places. For instance, the Vietnam Buddhist Center in Sugarland, Texas, a beautiful oasis, does not exactly conform to our image of a Texas landscape or way of life. But then again, if there is one thing that I've learned from this book and from my own, limited, experience with Buddhism, it is truth can be found when expectations are not met.