For my SYE, I am examining the globalization of Buddhism and its expansion into Western culture. Given that it is a broad topic, for my Independent Research Journal, I have decided to focus on the impact and commoditization of Buddhism in pop culture through commercial merchandise, western religious philosophy, and individual usage.
I am sure most of us have seen people with Buddhist mantras tattooed on their bodies. (Most commonly the “Om” symbol which references the full “Om Mane Padme Hum” enlightenment mantra). The use of this mantra and it’s popular choice as a body art option is a topic I will explore in my next post. This is only one example that I will share with the class over the course of the semester among others such as, the everyday dharma and Buddhism 101 books for sale at Barnes and Noble, the Buddha statues and idols in many merchandise shops as well as in many households, offices, and logos.
For this post however, I will leave you with a video of a conference with the Dalai Lama speaking in Inverness, Scotland where his lecture, followed by a Q&A entitled, “Be The Change” may shed some light into his philosophy and teachings. It is a feature length video so viewing it in its entirety is up to you, however, what you do watch, keep in mind a few things. First, the exchange of Eastern Philosophy on a Western audience, how it is received. Second, and concerning Appadurai and Patterson: the flow of cultural influence from West to East and if it is true. Third, think about how the Dalai Lama’s lecture is accommodated and shaped to a Western audience and if that affects the reception of his message, and the impact on the reception of Buddhism in the West.