Making a Buddhist Sacred Place in New Zealand

Christianity and Islam are not the only universalist religions spreading to all corners of the earth. So is Buddhism. The latest volume in the Topics in Contemporary Buddhism series looks at how a global religion goes local in New Zealand.

Land of Beautiful Vision: Making a Buddhist Sacred Place in New Zealand is the first book-length ethnography to address the role of material culture in contemporary adaptations of Buddhism and the first to focus on convert Buddhists in New Zealand. Author Sally McAra takes as her subject a fascinating instance of an ongoing creative process whereby a global religion is made locally meaningful through the construction of a Buddhist sacred place. She uses an in-depth case study of a small religious structure, a stupa, in rural New Zealand to explore larger issues related to the contemporary surge in interest in Buddhism and religious globalization. Her research extends beyond the level of public discourse on Buddhism to investigate narratives of members of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) about their relationship with the land, analyzing these and the FWBO’s transformative project through a thematic focus on key symbolic landmarks at their site, Sudarshanaloka.
April 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-2996-4 / $45.00 (CLOTH)

The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations

In its teachings, practices, and institutions, Buddhism in its varied Asian forms has been–and continues to be–centrally concerned with death and the dead. Yet surprisingly “death in Buddhism” has received little sustained scholarly attention.

The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations, edited by Bryan J. Cuevas and Jacqueline I. Stone offers the first comparative investigation of this topic across the major Buddhist cultures of India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Tibet, and Burma. Its individual essays, representing a range of methods, shed light on a rich array of traditional Buddhist practices for the dead and dying; the sophisticated but often paradoxical discourses about death and the dead in Buddhist texts; and the varied representations of the dead and the afterlife found in Buddhist funerary art and popular literature.

Studies in East Asian Buddhism, No. 20
Published in association with the Kuroda Institute
April 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3031-1 / $65.00 (CLOTH)