The Transplantation of Soka Gakkai to Brazil: Building "the Closest Organization to the Heart of Ikeda-Sensei"

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The Transplantation of Soka Gakkai to Brazil: Building "the Closest Organization to the Heart of Ikeda-Sensei" Powered By Docstoc
					Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 35/1: 95–113
© 2008 Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture




Ronan Alves Pereira

The Transplantation of Soka Gakkai to Brazil
Building “the Closest Organization to the Heart of Ikeda-Sensei”




   Up to the 1980s, Buddhist influence in Brazil was, at best, exiguous and mar-
   ginal. The Buddhist Society of Brazil, established in 1923 by Theosophists, was
   short-lived, and was only reestablished in 1955 with little public visibility and
   activity. In areas with a high concent
				
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Description: Up to the 1980s, Buddhist influence in Brazil was, at best, exiguous and marginal. The Buddhist Society of Brazil, established in 1923 by Theosophists, was short-lived, and was only reestablished in 1955 with little public visibility and activity. In areas with a high concentration of Japanese-Brazilians, temples, and monks of different denominations were the closest contact some Brazilians had with this religious tradition. Still, it was chiefly a "Japanese thing" or an alien practice "for Japanese." Zen's appeal to some intellectuals from the 1960s was a limited phenomenon, somehow related to the counterculture movement in the country. From the 1980s on, the media was instrumental in popularizing Buddhism in Brazil, particularly Zen and the newcomer Tibetan Buddhism. This follows a trend in the United States called "Tibetan chic." Against this background, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is becoming familiar to many Brazilians as it receives more social visibility and legitimacy. This article initially presents the history of SGI expansion from Japanese immigrants to Brazilians. The focus then changes to its organizational structure and activities. Finally, some remarkable aspects of Brazil-SGI are highlighted to show the particular trajectory of the movement. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
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