Yang Liu was a student at Baylor University when he began mapping Buddhism in Austin. Dr. Christopher Ellison, Dr. Margaret Syverson and Dr. Robert Woodberry were the faculty sponsors for this research.
At the time of this research, Liu wrote:
Although the Buddhist community has matured the quickest compared with other immigrant religions in the United States, most scholars in the field of sociology have only focused on Judeo-Christian traditions. This paper, on the contrary, looks at the social organization of Buddhist groups and networks through a case study conducted in Austin, Texas where Buddhism has the largest number of local non-Judeo-Christian religious organizations. We begin with an overview of the history of Austin Buddhism. Following this, we investigate the social dynamics behind the emergence of local Buddhist organizations and networks under two main headings: 1) religious identities, for instance, the various branches, traditions, lineages and local geographical distribution of the local Buddhist groups; 2) the sociological factors, including gender role, ethnic/racial distinctions etc.