WHY BUDDHISM BAFFLES THE WEST
[Introduction to "cluster" articles]
None of the world’s major religions is more richly varied than Buddhism. From the time of its birth some 2,500 years ago in India, it was reworked and reshaped over and over again as it spread to the many kingdoms of Asia—and, recently, to the West. In each of these lands, Buddhism profoundly influenced local cultures, and was in turn profoundly remolded by them—so much so that today’s adherents sometimes even honor different Buddhas. Such variety makes it all the more ironic, our contributors point out, that Westerners todayhave such a one-dimensional picture of the faith the Buddha spawned.