Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson was a student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when he began researching Buddhism in North Carolina. As a student affiliate, he wrote about “Change Your Mind Day,” a pan-sectarian public Buddhist festival. Dr. Thomas Tweed served as faculty sponsor for this research.

Wilson is now an associate professor of religious and East Asian studies at the University of Waterloo.

At the time of this research, Wilson wrote:

This summer Change Your Mind Day, a pan-sectarian public Buddhist festival, is being held for the first time in North Carolina. While the event has spread across the nation, it is still held in only a few Southern locations. The opportunity to observe the initial celebration of this event in a new region offers the possibility of many insights. What groups will be invited to participate, and what groups will be left out, either by oversight or design? How do North Carolina’s Buddhists form connections across sectarian lines, as well as dealing with the issues of race, language, and geography? How will the event be perceived by both Buddhist and non-Buddhist attendees? Will Change Your Mind Day succeed in creating a new pan-sectarian Buddhist identity in the Triangle area as its organizers hope, or will the contacts made prior to and during the event eventually be allowed to deteriorate? Will groups who have never previously worked together find ways to maintain harmony? What factors may influence the success or failure of future Change Your Mind day events in other places?

Selected Links and Publications

  • Website: Jeff Wilson Faculty Page
  • Book: Dixie Dharma: Inside a Buddhist Temple in the American South (University of North Carolina Press, 2012)