Globalizing tibetan buddhism: Modernism and neo-orthodoxy in contemporary karma bka' brgyud organizations

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This article addresses the wider issues of continuity and change in the context of the globalization of Tibetan Buddhism. Specifically, it looks at the emergence of lay oriented convert movements within the global Karma bKa' brgyud school, which are led by 'crazy wise' teachers. Firstly, the activities of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987) are interpreted on the background of the tension between tradition and modernity. In dialogue with modernity, Trungpa gradually pushed the borders of Tibetan Buddhist identity to the point of collapse and established a secular teaching lineage and discourse. Trungpa's case is then compared to the development of one of the fastest growing and largest global lay movements of contemporary Tibetan Buddhism, the Diamond Way of the Danish lay teacher Ole Nydahl. The Diamond Way has transitioned into a late-charismatic stage, in which the traditionalist and modernizing features of Nydahl's teachings are creating an increasing tension. Post-Buddhist secularization and modernist packaging of neo-orthodoxy emerge as contesting paradigms of the globalization of these Tibetan Buddhist movements, which produce surprising intertextualities and shed light on the negotiation of converted Buddhist identities in a global context. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-137
JournalContemporary Buddhism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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