Open Organization Networks: Combining Closure and Openness in the Social World of an European Buddhist Monastery


We present a social network study of a southern European Buddhist monastery that aimed at taking Buddhism from the monastery to society. It is an interesting experiment of fusion between Buddhism and the west and of its adaptation to modern times and new lands. We adopt the relational perspective to understand its adaptation process, the organizational forms used, its dynamics, its life, and its relations with the surrounding society. Our study shows that the use of social relations has been essential for the success of the organization and its project. The social system they created is rich, complex, and has a great capacity for offering services and taking action. It is an interesting case of relation between meaning and form. The meaning, the project, generates a specific organizational form (networks) to guarantee the closure necessary for certain functions and the necessary openness for its project towards society.

Share and Cite:

Díaz, J. and Moliner, L. (2014) Open Organization Networks: Combining Closure and Openness in the Social World of an European Buddhist Monastery. Sociology Mind, 4, 136-150. doi: 10.4236/sm.2014.42014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Arroyo, L. (2013). Espiritualidad, Razón y Discordias: El Budismo Ahora y Aquí. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Barcelona: The University of Barcelona.
[2] Barabási, A. L. (2003). Linked. New York: Plume.
[3] Batchelor, S. (1994). The Awakening of the West: The Encounter of Buddhism and Western Culture. London: Aquarian, Harper Collins and Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.
[4] Baumann, M. (1994). The Transplantation of Buddhism to Germany: Processive Modes and Strategies of Adaptation. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 6, 35-61.
[5] Baumann, M. (1997a). Culture Contact and Valuation: Early German Buddhists and the Creation of a “Buddhism in a Protestant Shape”. Numen, 44, 270-295.
[6] Baumann, M. (1997a). The Dharma Has Come West: A Survey of Recent Studies and Sources. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 4, 194-211.
[7] Buchanan, M. (2003). Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks. New York: W.W. Norton.
[8] Burt, R. (1995). Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[9] Chaves, M., & Cann, D. E. (1992). Regulation, Pluralism, and Religious Market Structure: Explaining Religion’s Vitality, Rationality and Society, 4, 272-290.
[10] Coleman, J. W. (2001). The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition. London: Oxford University Press.
[11] Díez de Velasco, F. (2009). La visibilización del Budismo en Espana. In M. Pintos de Cea-Naharro (Ed.), Budismo y cristianismo en diálogo (pp. 154-259). Madrid: Dykinson.
[12] Díez de Velasco, F. (2010). The Visibilization of Religious Minorities in Spain. Social Compass, 57, 235-252.
[13] Einstein, M. (2008). Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age. New York: Routledge.
[14] Freeman, L. (1979). Centrality in Social Networks: Conceptual Clarification. Social Networks, 1, 215-239.
[15] Granovetter, M. (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78, 1360-1380.
[16] Laumann, E., & Pappi, F. (1976). Networks of Collective Action: A Perspective on Community Influence Systems. New York: Academic Press.
[17] Lenoir, F. (1999). The Adaptation of Buddhism to the West. Diogenes, 47, 100-109.
[18] Nietupski, P. (1999). Labrang: A Tibetan Buddhist Monastery at the Crossroads of Four Civilizations. New York: Snow Lion Publications.
[19] Powell, W., & DiMaggio, P. J. (1991). The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
[20] Prebish, C. S., & Baumann, M. (2002). Westward Dharma. Buddhism beyond Asia. London: University of California Press.
[21] Prebish, C. S., & Keown, D. (2006). Introducing Buddhism. Routledge: New York.
[22] Prebish, C. S. (1996). Buddhist Monastic Discipline. India: Motilal Banarsidass Publications.
[23] Scott, J. (1991). Social Network Analysis. London: Sage.
[24] Tweed, T. A. (1998). Night-Stand Buddhists and other Creatures: Sympathizers, Adherents, and the Study of Religion. In D. R. Williams, & C. S. Queen (Eds.), American Buddhism. Methods and Findings in Recent Scolarship (pp. 71-90). Richmond: Curzon Press.
[25] Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[26] Watts, D. J. (2003). Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. New York: W.W. Norton.
[27] Wellman, B. (1999). Networks in the Global Village. Colorado: Westview Press.
[28] Wuthnow, R., & Cadge, W. (2004). Buddhists and Buddhism in the United States: The Scope of Influence. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 43, 363-380.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.