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NickPetorak

UWRT­1103­008

ProfessorBlandford

ReflectionQuestions

WhenIfirststartedthinkingaboutmytopic,BuddhisminModernAmerica,Iwasthinking

aboutitmorealongthelinesofcomparingthehistoryofthetwocultures.Throughthequestion

sessionIrealizedIneededtobemorefocusedonlifeasaBuddhistinAmericaandhowthey

haveassimilatedintoourculture.ThenthroughsomecommentsfromMs.Blanfordonmy

proposal,IrealizedIneededtoleaveoutmostofthebackgroundinformationthatIhadplanned

toinclude.OtherwisemypaperwouldhaveendedupfocusingonthehistorybehindBuddhism

andtheimmigrantsthatmadetheirwaytoAmericaIwentintothisprojectthinkingaboutitmore

intermsofatypicalresearchpaper,butIwaswrong.Itisreallymoreaboutreflectingonmy

ownliteracyandconnectingittohowIapproachedtheresearchandanalyticalaspectsofthis

paper.

LikemostresearchprojectsthatIdomyresearchstartedwithaGooglesearchon

Buddhismtogainsomebackgroundonthereligion.IthenwentthroughtheLibrary’sdatabase

ofscholarlyarticlesandjournals.Thebulkofmyinformationendedupcomingfromthese

databases.IwashopingtofindsomeinformationonSteveJobs’conversiontoBuddhismto

gainsomeperspectiveonwhatattractsmodernAmericanstothereligion,butwasunableto

findanyusefulinformation.Itturnedoutthatheusuallydeniedtocommentonhisreligious

ideology.IthinkthatdatabaseslikeJSTORwereeffectivebecausethetopicofAmerican

Buddhismissomewhatofaparadoxandhasalreadybeensearchedprettyextensivelyby

religiousscholars.

ItsurprisedmetolearnjusthowdiverseBuddhismhasbecomeinAmericainsucha

shorttime.Buddhistimmigrantsarrivedaround100yearsagoandtherearealreadymany

differentformsofthereligion,similartothedifferentvarietiesofprotestantchristianity.Ifounda

lotofinformationaboutBuddhistuniversitiessuchasNaropaUniversity,butthisinformation

wasn’tveryusefulformypaper.Ididn’treallyhavetroublefindinginformation,thebestsource

thatIfoundisthebookBuddhisminAmericabyRichardSeager.AlthoughIhaven’thadthe

timetoreaditfromcovertocoveri’vefoundthisbooktobeawealthofinformationonawide

rangeoftopicsinvolvingtheBuddhistexperienceinAmericaandhasbeenthegotosourcefor

mostofmyquestions.MostofmyfindingsencouragedmetofocusonhowAmericanculture

andBuddhistculturehaveinfluencedeachother,insteadofgoingintothedetailsofhow

BuddhismcametoAmerica.

Istartedstraightawaywiththeroughdraftofmypaper.Althoughitwasveryrough,

gettingmybasicideasandquestionsonpaperhelpedmetofindthedirectionofmypaper.

ThenItookmyroughdraftandstartedtoexpandonthoseideasandusemyresearchtofind

someanswerstomyquestions.Althoughitisstillaworkinprogress,i’mhappywithwherethis

projecthastakenme.Ithinkthehardestpartsofarhasbeentryingtoconnecttheliteracy

surroundingmytopicandmyownpersonalliteracybackground.

Thequestionsessionreallyhelpedtonarrowthescopeofmypaperassome

classmatesandevenProfessorBlandfordpointedoutthatIwasfocusingtoomuchonhistorical

information.Mycritiquegroupreallyhelpedmeweedoutsomeareasofmypaperthatwould

havedetractedfromthegoaloftheproject.Thereweresomeareaslikegoingintodetailabout

thedifferentvarietiesofBuddhisminAmericathatsomegroupmembersthoughttookaway

fromtheoverallmeaningofthepaper.

InotherresearchprojectsIhavedoneyouarekindofrequiredtotakeastepbackand

avoidincludingyourownvoiceinthefinalproduct.Inthepastithasbeenallaboutstatingwhat

youhavelearnedinyourresearchandanalyzingthatinformationthoroughly.Whereasinthis

paperthemostimportantaspecthasbeentryingtoincorporatemyownvoiceandreflectingon

howpreviousexperienceshaveinfluencedthewayIapproachedmyresearch.Ithasbeen

admittedlydifficultformetotryandincludemyvoiceandpersonalhistoryintomyresearchasI

amveryusedtokeepingthetwoseparate.

TomethebiggestthingIlearnedfromthisclassiswhatliteracyreallymeans.I’veonly

everthoughtofliteracyastheabilitytoreadandwrite.Nothowallofyourpastexperienceswith

differentformsofliteracycometogethertoinfluencepresentandfutureexperiences.Another

keythingIcantakeawayfromthisclassisthatIlearnedhowtorecognizetheimportanceofmy

voiceinmywriting.Iusedtotakeaveryblackandwhiteapproachtowriting,butthisclasshas

taughtmetothinkabouthowmypasthasinfluencedthewayIapproachandanalyzetopics

whichIthinkwillbeveryvaluablemovingforward.