Buddhist practice in the United States has grown and developed immensely since it’s first introduction a hundred and thirty years ago. Previously practiced only by Asian immigrants for whom Buddhism was part of their home culture, the tradition is now practiced by millions of Americans of many cultures, and has developed into it’s own distinct Western form. Using a synthesis of Bourdieu and Wenger’s theories regarding practice and cultural reproduction, this paper analyzes one Buddhist center, Compassionate Dharma Cloud Monastery, located in Morrison, Colorado. Compassionate Dharma Cloud Monastery offers a unique point of study in that it is divided into two distinct communities that practice differently, yet side by side. A close examination and comparison of practice in these communities offers insight into the myriad forms of Buddhism present in the United States, and illuminates the diversity of people who seek spiritual guidance from this ancient tradition.
Attending four-year college has become normalized in the millennial generation but graduating with a diploma is not as an established norm for students from low-income backgrounds. In this thesis I will study the effects of support groups, or lack thereof on current low-income students and alumni who attend or have attended Western College or Eastern College. In particular this study will examine their transition from an underfunded high school into their respective elite private liberal arts institution that are predominately inhabited by a white and affluent population. Using Bourdieu’s (1977) concept of cultural capital and habitus, I will study how the background of low-income students affects their relationships with the student body and faculty, perceptions of college, and their identity. I will highlight how students from low-income backgrounds must take on more responsibility and challenges to feel welcome and have a sense of belonging.