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Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the United States behind Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
American Buddhists include many Asian Americans, as well as a large number of converts of other ethnicities, and now their children and even grandchildren.
The Immigration Act of 1965 increased the number of immigrants arriving from China, Vietnam, and the Theravada-practicing countries of Southeast Asia.
Fanciful accounts of a visit to North America at the end of the 5th century written by a Chinese monk named Huishen or Hushen can be found in the Wenxian Tongkao by Ma Tuan-Lin.
Hsi Lai is the American headquarters of Fo Guang Shan, a modern Buddhist group in Taiwan.
Hsi Lai was built in 1988 at a cost of million and is often described as the largest Buddhist temple in the Western hemisphere.
Tracing its roots to the Young Men's Buddhist Association founded in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century and the Buddhist Mission of North America founded in 1899, it took its current form in 1944.
Another US Buddhist institution is Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California.The name Buddhist Churches of America was adopted at Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah; the word "church" was used similar to a Christian house of worship.After internment ended, some members returned to the West Coast and revitalized churches there, while a number of others moved to the Midwest and built new churches.Buddhism was introduced into the USA by Asian immigrants in the 19th century, when significant numbers of immigrants from East Asia began to arrive in the New World.In the United States, immigrants from China entered around 1820, but began to arrive in large numbers following the 1849 California Gold Rush.
The American Transcendentalists and associated persons, in particular Henry David Thoreau took an interest in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy.