The American Sociologist

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 203-222

First online:

Toward a Buddhist Sociology: Theories, Methods, and Possibilities

  • Janine SchipperAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Social Work, Northern Arizona University Email author 

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This article explores potential links between Buddhism and sociology, highlighting the many commonalities between sociology and Buddhism, with an emphasis on ways that Buddhist thought and practice may contribute to the field of sociology. What could Buddhism offer to our understanding of social institutions, social problems, and to the dynamics and possibilities for social change? The Four Noble Truths, central to Buddhist teachings, are explored in reference to their sociological theory applications. Finally, mindfulness practices that are endemic to Buddhism are explored as tools for sociologists to consider as they work reflexively, develop sociological insights, and pursue social justice.


Buddhist Sociology Sociological theory Qualitative methods Social justice Social change