The aim of my MA thesis research is to gain a better understanding of how young adults of Asian heritage living in America engage with Buddhism. I was inspired to delve into this topic after noticing that I rarely came across the experiences and perspectives of young Asian American Buddhists in scholarly and popular literature about Buddhism. Personal visits to a diverse range of Buddhist temples and meditation centers have also motivated this research.
While secondary readings in American Buddhist studies, Asian American studies, and other disciplines inform this project, the voices of young Asian Americans form its foundation. I am currently conducting one-on-one interviews with people between the ages of 18 to 39 who are 1) of Asian heritage, 2) engaged in Buddhist practice, broadly defined, and 3) willing to complete a two- to three-hour interview in English. The interview includes open-ended questions and interactive activities that explore participants’ Buddhist practices, communities, and beliefs; perceptions of Buddhism in America; and opinions about the representation of Asian American Buddhists. I’m currently conducting interviews in the Bay Area, but hope to expand to other locations in the summer.
This is a humble study of a broad and complex subject, so I am very grateful for anyone who is willing to share their ideas and suggestions with me!
Share your Perspective
I hope to interview people from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds and Buddhist traditions. Several people have asked whether they “qualify” for an interview. While I am happy to answer this question on an individual basis, I can say that I find it helpful to interview anyone who is interested in this topic, including people who do not explicitly identify as Buddhist or as Asian American. Generally speaking, I hope to interview young adults (a somewhat subjective category, to be sure) who have a connection to Buddhist practice and some form of ancestral heritage in the continent of Asia.
Please contact me if you are interested in setting up an in-person interview in the Bay Area, or if you would like to share your suggestions and insights on this project.
I would be immensely grateful if you could spread the word about this project to your Buddhist friends, family, organizations, and communities. Thank you for your support!