D.T. Suzuki: © Boris Erwitt; Internment Camp
D.T. Suzuki: © Boris Erwitt; Internment Camp

1828 The first edition of Noah Webster’s work An American Dictionary of the English Language includes the term Buddhism.

1844 The first English translation of a Buddhist scripture, an excerpt from theLotus Sutra, is published by Henry David Thoreau in The Dial, the Transcendentalist periodical founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

© Dorothea Lange, National Archives; Boy Scouts: Courtesy of Buddhist Churches of America; Gary Snyder:
© Dorothea Lange, National Archives; Boy Scouts: Courtesy of Buddhist Churches of America; Gary Snyder:

1848 Gold is discovered in California, setting off a rush that within five years brings tens of thousands.of Chinese, most of them Pure Land Buddhists, to America.

1853 The Sze Yap Company establishes the first Buddhist temple in America in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It is a mixture of Pure Land Buddhism and other Chinese religious elements. The Journal of the American Oriental Society publishes a translation from the Burmese of the life of the Buddha.

1859 The California Supreme Court upholds the right of Chinese immigrants to practice Buddhism.

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