Asian American Buddhists

As a young adult Asian American Buddhist who has not always been comfortable adopting the labels of “Asian American” or “Buddhist” (or “young adult,” for that matter), I was motivated to embark on this project by a mixture of confusion and loneliness. Confusion: why are the experiences and perspectives of Asian American Buddhists, especially young adults, underrepresented in scholarly literature and popular media about American Buddhism? Loneliness: in my visits to a broad range of Buddhist temples and meditation centers in the U.S., I am often left wondering: where are all the other young adult Asian American Buddhists?

My MA thesis is based on in-depth interviews with twenty-six young adults who talked about their Buddhist practices, communities, and beliefs; perceptions of Buddhism in America; and opinions about the representation of Asian American Buddhists. Since completing my MA in spring 2014, I have conducted more than sixty email interviews with young adult Asian American Buddhists from a variety of backgrounds. I am currently working on a book project based on this research.

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