Casting Indra’s Net across the Pacific: Robert Aitken and the Growth of the Diamond Sangha as a Trans-Pacific Zen Movement
Keywords:Buddhism, Zen, Robert Aitken, Diamond Sangha
Robert Baker Aitken and Anne Hopkins Aitken cofounded Diamond Sangha (DS) as a small living room sangha in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, in 1959. By 1993, DS served as the primary hub for an international network of sanghas, extending across the Pacific region. This paper traces DS's development from its humble beginnings into a major conduit for the flow of trans-Pacific Zen from Hawaiʻi to the continental USA, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand. It argues that DS played a vital role in the rapid growth of Zen throughout the Pacific region by utilizing a horizontal networking style of visiting teachers nurturing local leadership in distant sanghas, creating a lattice of interrelated sanghas across the Pacific. It likewise argues that Aitken's vision for DS entailed a blending of innovation and tradition, straddling the divide between the imperatives to meet the needs of local contexts and to preserve inherited styles of practice.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Helen J. Baroni
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