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A Jewish Buddhist (also Jubu or Buju) is a person with a Jewish background who practices forms of Buddhist meditation and spirituality. The term Jubu was first brought into wide circulation with the publication of The Jew in the Lotus by Rodger Kamenetz. In some cases, the term can refer to individuals who practice both traditions, in other cases "Jewish" is no more than an ethnic designation, where the person's main religious practice is Buddhism. In yet other cases, a Jubu is simply a Jew with an interest in Buddhism. A large demographic of Jewish Buddhists, constituting its majority, still maintain religious practices and beliefs in Judaism coupled with Buddhist practices and perhaps beliefs.



The first recorded instance of an American being converted to Buddhism on American soil occurred at the 1893 exposition on world religions and the convert had been a Jew named Charles Strauss. He declared himself a Buddhist at a public lecture that followed the World Conference on Religions in 1893. Strauss later became an author and leading expositor of Buddhism in the West.[1] After World War II, there was increasing interest in Buddhism, associated with the Beat generation. Zen was the most important influence at that time. A new wave of Jews involved with Buddhism came in the late 1960s. Prominent teachers included Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, who founded the Insight Meditation Society and learned vipassana meditation primarily through Thai teachers.

Some Jewish Buddhists claim that the two religions are compatible, while other Jews believe this represents a serious adulteration of both traditions.[2] Buddhist-influenced rabbis also exist, such as Alan Lew, a Conservative rabbi in San Francisco.[3] A number of Jewish Buddhists have found a religious home in the inter-spiritual community of Unitarian Universalism, where they lead Sanghas (Buddhist fellowships).

According to the Ten Commandments and classical Jewish law, known as Halacha, it is forbidden for any Jew to worship any deity other than the way God is worshipped in Judaism. It is likewise forbidden to join or serve in another religion because doing so would render such an individual an apostate or an idol worshipper. Since most Buddhists do not consider the Buddha to have been a "god", Jewish Buddhists do not consider Buddhist practice to be "worship". In addition, many Buddhists (particularly Theravada Buddhists) do not "worship" the Buddha but instead "revere" and "express gratitude" for the Buddha's (and all buddhas') accomplishment and compassionate teaching (that is, discovering and teaching the Dharma so others might be released from suffering and achieve Nirvana).

Well-known Jewish Buddhists

See also


  1. ^ The Jew in the Lotus Jewish Identity in Buddhist India Retrieved on June 5, 2007
  2. ^ "Lama Surya Das Biographical Details". Dzogchen Foundation. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  3. ^ Abernethy, Bob. "Jews and American Buddhism". Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  4. ^ Allen Ginsberg dot org :: Biography
  5. ^ - Transcripts
  6. ^ Lama Surya Das Biography
  7. ^ De Vries, Hilary. "Robert Downey Jr.: The Album", New York Times, 2004-11-21.
  8. ^ De Vries, Hilary (2004-11-21). "Robert Downey Jr.: The Album". New York Times. 
  9. ^ Jeremy’s journey

Further reading

External links



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