Northwestern Events Calendar


Edmund Perry Lecture: Downsizing the Guru: How Buddhist Groups in North America Make (or Don’t Make) Money

Buddhist economics

When: Tuesday, May 7, 2019
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM CT

Where: Harris Hall, 108, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Rossitza Guenkova-Fernandez   (847) 491-3611

Group: Religious Studies Department

Category: Academic


Edmund Perry Lecture presented by Jeff Wilson, Professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies at Renison University College, in Waterloo, Ontario.

Lecture Abstract: How much are Americans willing to pay for good karma? Or mindfulness? And if they won’t buy these religious “products,” how will Buddhism survive in North America? Buddhism has been a fundamental part of Asian economies for 2500 years, but in America and Canada new forces—including free market capitalism, competition with Christianity and other groups, Orientalist ideas about Buddhist monks, secular and self-help cultural flows, and more—impact the economic work of Buddhist groups, and therefore their ability to offer teaching and practice. How Buddhists adapt to these non-Buddhist forces largely determines whether they will experience success or bankruptcy as they attempt to carve out a space for themselves in the social and financial landscape of the United States and Canada.

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