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The “Lama” effect in the United States: How Buddhism has become the fourth largest religion in America

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Dar Cho

By Prachi Mishra

The followers of Buddhism in the United States have gone up by a whopping 170 per cent, according to an American Religious Identity Survey conducted between 1999 and 2000.

Teaching centers and various communities or Sanghs are springing up at such a tremendous rate that Buddhism has now become the fourth largest religion in America.

Officially, Buddhism arrived in the West in the year 1893, during the World Parliament of Religions, along with the early Asian immigrants. There were a total of 12 speakers representing Buddhism at the Parliament, out of which Sri Lankan Buddhist teacher, Anagarika Dharmapala, and Japanese Buddhist leader, Soyen Shaku, were the two speakers who encouraged people to take-up the art of Buddhism.

Many of Shaku’s students have done their bit to spread Buddhism in the US by publishing a great deal of Buddhist literature and establishing various Buddhist societies and meditation centers.

The progression of the Buddhists continued in the States with the migration of Asians, who arrived in search of work and a better life. The American troops who returned from Japan after the Second World War also brought a speck of Buddhism to America. Then, the return of the soldiers after the Korean War in the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s, resulted in an increased awareness of Buddhism in the US. These soldiers were deeply fascinated by the skills of their opponents, especially their training in martial arts.

Soka Gakkai, which came to the United States in the 1960s, is a Japanese missionary movement that expanded the Buddhist religion in the American society. It emphasized on the inner transformation and development of the character of an individual. It focused primarily on chanting and did not teach any other meditative rituals, unlike other sects of Buddhism.

Buddhism did not enjoy the privileged status initially during its inception in the US. When the missionaries and the travelers returned to their country and related their accounts of the encounter with Buddhism in the East to the natives, the religion did not receive a hearty acceptance. It was seen as a negative religion since it rejected the idea of God and emphasized on the total annihilation of the self. It arrived in America at a time when the country was itself going through a religious crisis, which was caused by increasing scientific skepticism. The crisis was also a result of the growing materialism caused by the industrial revolution.

At that time, Buddhism was seen in a new light, as it was considered to bridge the chasm between the scientific and rational thinking, and religion. Today, Buddhism is perceived as “a way of life, a philosophy rather than a religion.” It offers an essence of spirituality, peace and harmony in today’s chaotic world. It is not bound by any culture, or ethnicity, but is universal, overarching all religious, cultural or ethnic divides. It prioritizes the development of mind, rather than focusing on  external way of living. Most importantly unlike what Christianity did to the Orient, Buddhism does not aim at converting the religion of the masses. It, in fact, adds to the existing belief systems and practices of people and does not force anyone to give up their religion.

Other than all of these aforementioned factors, Americans are also fascinated towards Buddhism due to its practice of meditation.

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List of Best Penny Marijuana Stocks

As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks, the fact that making money off of this little green plant is still considered illegal in countries

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marijuana, cannabis, penny stocks, stocks, USA, investment
Marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, California, Aug. 15, 2019. VOA

As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks. This probably has something to do with the fact that making money off of this little green plant is still considered illegal in countries like the United States.

We know some states are changing their laws, but nothing has changed federally just yet. This means investors have to deal with cash most of the time, and sometimes, they can’t take advantage of certain tax deductions. The money made from this industry cannot always be used to open a bank account.

As you can see, there are many obstacles to overcome in this industry.

Some of these factors make it even more important for potential investors to pay attention to the penny stocks they do take a chance on. The following is a list of some of the best penny stocks available today.

1. InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc

When it comes to drug development and commercialization, there are only a few companies that can be compared to this company.

InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. focuses on Cannabinoids, and they have invested a lot of time and effort into developing the therapeutic aspects of marijuana.

One thing the company is pretty proud of is the bioinformatics assessment tool. This tool allows technicians to figure out if a specific cannabinoid could address certain ailments.

The possibilities with this kind of targeted treatment are endless, which is attracting a number of investors around the globe.

marijuana, penny stocks, stocks, USA, investment
There is also the Aleafia Health stock that focuses on growing
and promoting medical cannabis clinics all around the US. Pixabay

At the moment, it seems like the company has made significant progress towards dealing with Epidermolysis bullosa, glaucoma, and it has also been working hard to address joint and muscle pains.

2. American Cannabis Company Inc.

The American Cannabis Company Inc. is considered the go-to company for entrepreneurs in the United States who are attempting to get into the business of selling marijuana.

Everyone knows that the business is setting itself up for a major boom in the coming years, even though it is already quite profitable.

This company understands that entrepreneurs don't always understand everything there is to know about cannabis, such as marketing it and navigating the current environment surrounding marijuana sales.

The American Cannabis Company Inc. is here to provide counsel, thanks to years of experience in the industry. It is here to provide marketing tools, branding information, and even help with staffing if needed.

Those interested in one of the best penny marijuana stocks out there should definitely pay close attention to this stock.

3. Auxly Cannabis Group

The Auxly Cannabis Group is an important company to watch out for. It is considered a cannabis royalty company, and the reason investors should keep an eye on it is because it is focused on helping growers start or expand their capacity.

If the marijuana industry is set to explode as more countries accept its usage, then there is going to be a need for growers who can provide.

Of course, the company does not only help other growers; it has also purchased its own farms as well.

marijuana, penny stocks, stocks, USA, investment
As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks. Pixabay

Projections say that these farms may end up producing up to 170,000 kilograms of marijuana in 2019 and the following year. Those kind of numbers have instilled the kind of faith any company wants to instill in possible investors.

4. Plus Products Inc.

Edibles are going to be an important part of the marijuana industry. These little things are fun, and people are loving them. At the moment, Plus Products Inc. is considered one of the fastest growing edible companies.

It continues to produce the kind of edibles that people want, hitting great numbers. Some of their best-selling edibles have seen great staying power and fend off competition.

It is safe to say that this company is putting a lot of work into the products they produce to make sure customers are happy.

It is currently selling its edibles in California, and that means the rest of the country is ripe for the picking, which means the potential for growth is undeniable.

ALSO READ: Daily Cannabis Use May Increase Risk of Psychosis

Plus Products Inc. is actually developing an even bigger facility that is going to be able to handle even more orders. It is safe to say that the company is foreseeing a huge spike in demand within the coming months or few short years. Investors interested in the the long game should definitely give this stock a try.

Of course, these are just some of the stocks that investors should keep an eye on, but there are more, such as MariMed Inc. that is more of an all-in-one consulting firm helping dispensaries and other players in the industry. There is also the Aleafia Health stock that focuses on growing and promoting medical cannabis clinics all around the US.

As mentioned earlier, the key here is to make sure each investor pays attention to each stock and what the company is attempting to do. We think one should only invest in a stock when the investor feels he or she can make an informed decision.