Constructing Buddhism(s): Interreligious Dialogue and Religious Hybridity

C. Bender, W. Cadge
2006 Sociology of religion  
This paper presents data from interviews with senior Catholic and Buddhist nuns living in the United States who participated in an interreligious dialogue. We focus on how Catholic nuns devel op, appropriate, and adapt Buddhist forms and ideas in their daily religious practices and how Buddhist nuns respond. We describe and analyze three distinct discursive constructions of Buddhism that Catholic and Buddhist nuns draw upon, and discuss the significance of these constructions for mem bers of
more » ... for mem bers of both traditions as they think about their groups' futures. This material contributes to research on religious syncretism, appropriation, and the hybrid nature of religious traditions in practice While some scholars conceive of religions as intact traditions with clear boundaries, distinct ideologies, and unique histories other scholars, primarily in sociology and religious studies, have long known that these conceptions fall apart under close scrutiny (Boyarin 2004; Butler 1990; Thai 2005). Religious traditions develop and exist, these others argue, in relation to one another. Religious con flicts and polemics reformulate and solidify boundaries between traditions. The movement of religious traditions into new contexts reshapes their borders and meanings, and contact and interaction in plural worlds often lead to religious hybridization and other kinds of incorporation (McGuire and Maduro 2005;
doi:10.1093/socrel/67.3.229 fatcat:xbdrmvw4jbfxfbn5o4qjkidshm