Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Peter Bedford




Buddhism, religion, history, demography, interviews


Buddhism in American mainstream society and an identification of the categories of the New American Buddhist. The introduction is a critical look at the type of Buddhist practitioner including demographics and their personal history that introduced them to the Buddhist tradition, discovered by previous researchers. This also takes into account Buddhism in popular culture. Then to continue that research I employed my own methods, influenced greatly by phenomenology, to go out into the field to conduct my own qualitative study on local Buddhist groups to see if my experience corresponds to previous research. I collected data on demographics, religious history, experience with Buddhism, and societal impressions. The conclusion drawn from personal research was that the local groups did fit the mold of the historical and current-day American population’s demographics, religious history, and societal impressions. What was different was the experience with Buddhism. Each individual had their own story to tell about how Buddhism entered their life, the personal nature of the interviews allowed me to fully understand each individual, which was crucial to understanding how Buddhism has made an impression in each of their lives.