In the twentieth and now the twenty-first century, the world has increasingly embraced the teachings of Buddhism, especially in the West. It deeply influenced the Beat writers and the counter-culture of the 1960s. But how different is this modern form of Buddhism from the ancient faith that originated over two millennia ago?
Forging a universal doctrine from the divergent traditions of China, Sri Lanka, Japan, Burma, Thailand and Tibet, the makers of the most modern Buddhism imagine it to be the most ancient, as renowned scholar Donald Lopez shows.
Modern Buddhism is for them a homeward journey to the original vision of Buddha himself. Putting far more stress on meditation and spirituality than on ritual and relics, it embraces the ordination of women and values of science, social justice, tolerance and individual freedom.