“Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest religions, originating around 500 BC in India. It offers a spiritual journey that focuses onpersonal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life,” Steven Barr writes in his article based on Buddhism in western society, Hollywood. The allure of “insight into the true nature of life,” may have many in the West turning to it for guidance, either in combination with their western religion or entirely in its place. It was not until the second half of the twentieth century that Buddhist ideas reached a wider section of the American society. American servicemen returning from East Asia after the Second World War and Korean War, brought with them an interest in Asian culture which included Nichiren Shoshu and Zen Buddhism. As the population of new practitioners grew in the West there is also an increase in westerners raised with the practice of this Eastern religious philosophy. Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions in our country.
It is considered a “moral philosophy,” and this could be the draw that is has on western society. There is no form of redemption, heavenly hope, or final judgement; one lives within the circle of Karma where your deed reflects the world you live. In Buddhism, karma specifically refers to actions of body, speech, and mind that spring from mental intent and bring about a consequence or fruit, or result.
According to cultural theorist and staff writer from Unbound Magazine at the College of New Jersey Anna Argasinski, “Buddhism may be alluring to celebrities because it confronts egotism and challenges the notion of individuality. It is also firmly bound in the disciplines of the imagination, so celebrities interested in exploring their creativity may find Buddhism more appealing than the traditional Western forms of religion.”
These are celebrities who practice buddhism or incorporate it into their religious practices.