American culture celebrates hard work and rewards individual accomplishment. A successful life is often recognized by the acquisition of material things. Buddhism, with its pursuit of the acceptance of suffering and a focus on suppressing desire does not seem like it would easily integrate into the American way of life. And yet, Buddhism is ever ready to adapt.
Buddhism arrived in America with Chinese immigrants seeking their fortunes in the Gold Rush of the mid- 1800s. Japanese immigrants helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the mid 1900’s and young Americans travelling in India and Thailand developed an interest in Buddhist meditation in the 1960s and 1970s. Around this time, there was also an increase in immigration to the United States from East Asia. This created a Buddhist population which is a combination of immigrants and converts, who adapted traditional practices to suit their own needs.
Today, only about 1% of the US population identifies as Buddhist and the majority of those are immigrants. Some Americans have incorporated Buddhist traditions such as meditation, yoga and the burning of incense in an effort to acquire the peace they hope it will bring.
HOW TO PRAY
Pray for Buddhist immigrants to the US to meet Christians who will share their friendship and their faith. (MATTHEW 25:38-40)
Pray for American Buddhists, seeking peace and wisdom, to find the truth that sets them free. (JOHN 8:31-32)
Pray for the church in America, to be light and salt to Buddhists in their nation. (MARK 9:49-50)
Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide