Guest Lecture – America’s Buddhist History Reading: How the Swans Came to the Lake Forty Years Later

Time: Thursday, February 17, 2022, 5-6:30 p.m.

Location: 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley Department of History


Abstract: How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America by Rick Fields (1942–1999), was first published in 1981. Though the landscape of American Buddhism has changed dramatically in the forty years since, the book remains the definitive account of Buddhism’s arrival on American shores. Prof. Robert Sharf and Benjamin Bogin (the author’s nephew) will explore the book’s place in Buddhist historiography and engage with questions surrounding memory, narrative, and lineage in American Buddhism.


About the Speaker: Benjamin Bogin is Associate Professor of Asian Studies at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. He writes and teaches on biographical literature, sacred geography, and visual art in Himalayan cultures. He is the author of The Illuminated Life of the Great Yolmowa (2013) and a forthcoming book on the Copper-Colored Mountain, a Tibetan Buddhist paradise.

Event Contact:, 510-643-5104

Access Coordinator: Sanjyot Mehendale,, 510-643-5104

This event is sponsored by UC Berkeley Center for Buddhist Studies, and Glorisun Global Network.


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