Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Buddhism, State by State

I recently came across this fascinating map of the largest religions in America after christianity, depicted state by state. As you can see Buddhism predominates in Western states while Islam is on the increase in the East of the country.

What particularly interested me about the article from American Buddhist, which contained the map, was the range of statistics backing it up. "Data on Buddhism is sparse, with a general “Buddhism” question only added to the census in 2000, but no data on actual adherents, and a breakdown into Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana not put in until the 2010 census".

The point is made that the number of “visible practising Buddhists,” is sure to be far lower than those who would self-ascribe as Buddhist. To this I would, from personal experience, add that there are a large number of those who meditate in a Buddhist context and broadly adhere to the Buddha's teachings but who would not describe themselves as definitely Buddhist. Speaking for myself, it was only after practising for some time that I "came out as a Buddhist".

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