Constructing 'Buddhism': A Comparative Analysis of Buddhist Group Narratives in Scotland
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This thesis examines some mechanisms underpinning the construction of the public discourse on Buddhism in Scotland in general and Buddhist group narratives about Buddhism in particular.Chapter 1 introduces the object of study as well as research questions and describes the methodology applied, which is grounded in a study-of-religions (Religionswissenschaft) perspective.Chapter 2 discusses some theoretical accounts in the study of Buddhism(s) and investigates the creation of an ontologised category Buddhism as a scholarly object within the 'world religions' paradigm. It furthermore argues for the study of 'Buddhism' to focus on the actual human agents involved as well as on historico-regional aspects of the framework within which a discourse on Buddhism is constructed.Chapter 3 provides a historical contextualisation of Buddhist groups in Scotland and examines the construction of 'Buddhism' within a selection of three Buddhist groups located in Scotland. These are the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, the community around Karma Kagyü Samyé Ling, and the Thai-Scottish Association around Wat Dhammapadipa.Chapter 4 concludes the study and provides a comparison of the Buddhism discourses constructed in these three groups. It also highlights general rules underpinning the public discourse on Buddhism in Scotland and locates this discourse in the wider field of the concept of the 'European history of religions' (Europäische Religionsgeschichte).