Update: Duncan Williams & "American Sutra"

On Sunday, June 9, join us for one or more of our three activities planned around the visit of Duncan Williams — scholar, Zen priest, and historian. You are welcome to attend one, two, or all three of the events. Please note that the service and book talk are free. Only the lunch would cost you out of pocket.

  • Sunday Service, 10 a.m. Rev. Williams will present the Dharma message.

  • Special Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. With Chicken Teriyaki, dessert, and more. Tickets are $8 (available from the Temple now).

  • Book Talk & Signing, 1:00 p.m. The author will present vignettes from his book, many specific to San Diego, followed by book signings. Copies of the book will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Nearly 20 years in the making, this important work details the effort to falsely position Japanese American citizens and immigrants from Japan, and especially Buddhists, as anti-American.

Acclaim for American Sutra

“Duncan Williams’s book is deep, detailed, and timely, especially at a time when the meaning of ‘citizenship’ in America is still unsettled.”―Gary Snyder, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Turtle Island

American Sutra movingly and insightfully tells the long-buried true history of the ordeals suffered and triumphs achieved by Japanese American Buddhist individuals unjustly dispossessed and interned during WWII who drew on their Buddhist faith to remain loyal to the nation. I cannot recommend this compelling work highly enough for anyone who faces clearly the present-day conflicts of identities and yet aspires to a twenty-first-century vision of America’s still-possible promise for the world.”―Robert A. F. Thurman, Columbia University

“By recounting the struggle of those interned to maintain their faith and traditions in the face of an unforgivable assault on both, American Sutra tells a larger tale of how America’s storied commitment to religious freedom so often clashes with its history of white, Christian exceptionalism. Reading this book, one cannot help but think of the current racial and religious tension that have gripped this nation―and shudder.”―Reza Aslan, author of Zealot and God: A Human History

“Explores for the first time the significance of religion, particularly Buddhism, among Japanese-Americans incarcerated at Heart Mountain and the nine other camps overseen by the War Relocation Authority…A searingly instructive story about America from which all Americans might learn.”―Peter Manseau, Smithsonian

About the Author

An ordained Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen tradition, Duncan Ryūken Williams has spent years piecing together the story of the Japanese American community during World War II. A renowned scholar of Buddhism, he has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Irvine, and Trinity College, and is now the Director of the Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture at the University of Southern California. He has published five other books, including The Other Side of Zen.

Download the Flyer

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