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  • Published: 12 April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781611804737
  • Imprint: Shambhala
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592
  • RRP: $52.99

How the Swans Came to the Lake

A Narrative History of Buddhism in America



A modern classic unparalleled in scope, this sweeping history unfolds the story of Buddhism’s spread to the West.

How the Swans Came to the Lake opens with the story of Asian Buddhism, including the life of the Buddha and the spread of his teachings from India to Southeast Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, and elsewhere. Coming to the modern era, the book tracks how Western colonialism in Asia served as the catalyst for the first large-scale interactions between Buddhists and Westerners. Author Rick Fields discusses the development of Buddhism in the West through key moments such as Transcendentalist fascination with Eastern religions; immigration of Chinese and Japanese people to the United States; the writings of D. T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, and members of the Beat movement; the publication of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki; the arrival of Tibetan lamas in America and Europe; and the influence of Western feminist and social justice movements on Buddhist practice.

This fortieth anniversary edition features both new and enhanced photographs as well as a new introduction by Fields’s nephew, Buddhist Studies scholar Benjamin Bogin, who reflects on the impact of this book since its initial publication and addresses the significant changes in Western Buddhist practice in recent decades.

  • Published: 12 April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781611804737
  • Imprint: Shambhala
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592
  • RRP: $52.99

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