The central thesis is that American Buddhism has left its modernist roots and has entered into a distinctly post-modernist phase.
Most fun for me were the anecdotes that give a picture of American Buddhism today. Chapter two, for example, opens with a protest at the Wisdom 2.0 conference and chapter five is “The Dukkha of Racism”! Fun times!
The biggest question I take away from it is: what should engaged Buddhism look like in the 21st century?
On one hand, it seems like the current variety is a good thing but it does come at a cost to the community. Is this merely a reflection of the deep rifts in American society (race and class) or is there something uniquely Buddhist too in the various directions the dhamma is going in America?
Personally, I’m rooting for what Ann calls the “unusual bedfellows of religious conservatives and critical theorists.” I think these bedfellows aren’t so unusual, in that the truth is the truth whether worded in Pāḷi or Marxist Dialogue. Seems to me there’s a real chance here for a “Buddhist Liberation Theology” (for lack of a better phrase) to emerge in America that merges social critique and civic religion with authentic (ie EBT) Buddhist Theology.
But social engagement is always tricky, and especially in Buddhism, which heavily stresses equanimity and non-contention.
What do y’all think engaged Buddhism in America should / can / will look like in e.g. 10 years?