Master of Arts (MA)
Religion & Culture / Religious Studies
Faculty of Arts
This paper considers the relationship between ordinary life and religious commitment among twelve convert Buddhist practitioners who were members of the Zen Buddhist Temple in Toronto, Canada. Their experiences are investigated from the perspective of Charles Taylor's theories on the affirmation of ordinary life. Taylor argues that a tension exists between ordinary life and religious values in North American society. The paper's objective is to discover how interview participants balanced the demands of ordinary life (i.e. those aspects of life relating to family and vocation) and their commitment to a religious tradition that emphasizes renunciation, contemplation and monasticism. The study demonstrates that interview participants were engaged in a two-way process of transformation. They were informing and transforming their everyday lives as a result of their commitment to Buddhism. This is a process which involved the adoption and adaptation of certain Buddhist practices and principles. In so doing, they were creating a form of lay Buddhism that was influenced by the tradition, by their religious institution, and by their North American worldviews and lifestyles.
Campbell, Patricia Q., "Buddhist values and ordinary life among members of the Toronto Zen Buddhist Temple" (2004). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 133.