Consumption and Commodification of Buddhism in America
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In America, Buddhism operates in many different forms such as a religion, spirituality, or philosophy. As it is represented along this spectrum, ranging from purely religious to fully secular, Buddhism is adopted and assimilated into each environment. As Buddhism has always been an umbrella term for thousands of different traditions it is expanding rapidly in secularized or spiritualized spheres. As the category of spirituality grows in popularity it has brought much debate over what is authentic and inauthentic. True or false Buddhism, or the correct and the wrong expressions of Buddhism. Yet for the purpose of this paper it must be accepted that there can never be an objective authentic or true Buddhism and there never has been one. This paper will be addressing the Buddhism that is constructed either consciously or unconsciously for consumption. This project derives from a frustration with the obvious irony between the practice consumerism and Buddhism. It is absurd how much economic and social capital are generated from something that claims to reject materialistic attachment. Therefore, in response to that, this project will be addressing the question of who benefits from this discourse of Buddhism in America?