I've used Western Buddhist in a recent question but I'm not sure if it is a good term. I'm taking it to mean Buddhist practioners of school based in a Western country. To be honest I'm not convinced about the notion of the West generally. It probably lacks precision and when I did a few sessions on development economics a while back people objected to the term.

Is it a good term? Is my usage correct? Is there another better term?


I think it's as reasonable as the use of "Western" in any other context; Western philosophy, Western food, etc. Maybe even more so, since Buddhist originated in the "East", so any Buddhism that has grown up or become established in the West, outside of an Eastern cultural context, is by definition Western Buddhism.


I consider myself a Western Buddhist since I'm Canadian and was raised totally secularly. Being a lay practitioner and without a real Buddhist community, I try to define my practice in a reasonable way that works for me.


As a Western Zen Buddhist in Florida I have never had an issue with the term "Western". However I do hear the term "Modern Buddhist" more often than "Western Buddhist" and I seem to relate these to practically the same thing. But perhaps that is because I am both a Western and Modern Buddhist.

  • I've never heard the term Modern Buddhist. That's very interesting thank you – Crab Bucket Aug 13 '14 at 19:54
  • To me as a karateka it mirrors when we discuss "Modern Karate" in relation to "Ancient Karate". – Thien Aug 13 '14 at 19:56
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    Modern Buddhism doesn't have to be Western. – michau Aug 30 '14 at 10:02

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