This introductory chapter traces the rapid growth of Shin Buddhism in North America to the assimilation of the religion. Scholars defined Shin assimilation as a one-way process, in which the religion was transformed by modeling itself on Christianity. Partly due to the “otherness” of Buddhism as seen by Christians, together with the connection between Buddhist institutions and Japanese language schools, anti-Japanese activists considered Buddhists to be unassimilable. In order to overcome a sense of marginality, Shin Buddhists tried to conform to Protestant practices by adopting the system of a board of trustees for organizational management, avoiding the typical architecture of a traditional Japanese temple, and bringing pews and lecterns into the worship hall.
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