A Time to Chant: The Soka Gakkai Buddhists in Britain
All of this has created a movement which is a significant social phenomenon; yet to date Soka Gakkai has received little attention from Western academics.Bryan Wilson and Karel Dobbelaere have undertaken a thorough survey of the UK membership to try to trace the source of the movement's attraction and analyse its potential.In addition to a questionnaire survey they carried out some thirty interviews with members, who were encouraged to tell their story in their own way.These interviews and the questionnaire responses are liberally quoted throughout the book and add illuminating detail to its analysis.
The decline in belief in an anthropomorphic deity; the sense that traditional religious institutions have become hollow; the emphasis on the private nature of belief and on personal autonomy are all characteristic features of contemporary western values.The authors suggest that Soka Gakkai has found a ready resonance with these changing currents of thought in contemporary society and conclude that Soka Gakkai's appeal to young people in particular makes it a faith whose time may have come.
`Although the authors have clearly aimed this work primarily at an academic readership, there is a great deal more material in it that Buddhists of any persuasion are likely to find stimulating as well as providing food for thought ... The book is well-researched, gives a clear and unbiased view of the movement under scrutiny, and, not least, is very readable.'Golden DrumValuable and lively for what it is: a useful look at Western Buddhists ... and a convincing take on alternative religion from a perspective pessimistic about mainline religion in contemporary society. (The Journal of Religion)
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