Though there are significant Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean immigrant communities in Greater Boston, East Asian traditions such as Confucianism, Daoism, and Shintō are difficult to survey as there are very few religious centers. These traditions are deeply imbedded in the unique history, geography, and culture of their native countries and are often practiced in forms that are not limited to institutional or communal settings.
What Westerners label “Confucianism” is known by Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese followers as the “Scholarly Tradition.” Confucianism does not have a strong institutional presence in Greater Boston, mostly because of the deep connection the tradition has had with the social and political structures of East Asia. For some, however, the scholarly values and symbols of Confucianism serve as important reminders of the cultural and philosophical legacy of their ancestors, and as relevant touchstones for thinking about ethics and modern life in the United States.
Starting in the late 20th century, America has also seen the rise of its own indigenous form of Confucianism known as “Boston Confucianism.” This small but growing group of intellectuals seek to both promote Confucianism by showing what it can offer the world and argue that Confucianism can stand alone outside of its East Asian roots.