Westernization and Easternization of Religion

Within the context of the 1960s counterculture, the ‘East’ inspired a fascination amongst young North Americans and Europeans, searching for self-realisation and authentic spiritual lifestyles. Rejecting what they perceived to be an individualistic, materialistic, secular, and decadent West, they discovered Buddhist rituals, meditation, Yoga, or Asian martial arts. Others hit the road, travelled to India to meet spiritual gurus, learn from their wisdom, and experience community life in their ashrams. Ever since, Asian religious practices and beliefs have maintained their appeal and become increasingly mainstream in European and North American societies, to such an extent that some academics have claimed that Western culture has been dramatically transformed and become easternised. However, other scholars have shown that once disseminated and adopted in Europe or North America, ...

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