Teenage Buddhist Hipsters, or "Buddsters," Find Inner Peace

November 15, 2006

Author: Rupali Arora

Source: azcentral/Columbia News Service


As Mary Reagan folds her hands in prayer, chanting with her friends in Japanese, multihued rubber bands hold her short black curls in eight petite fountains atop her head.

A black top tied in a front-bow adorns her pink knee-length dress, accented by rainbow-striped stockings.

White sneakers covered in a graffiti of green stars and the words “I love Jesse” are tied to her ankles with long black laces.

Mary, 13, is one of thousands of “Buddsters,” teenage hipsters who are converting to Buddhism.

Home-schooled in New York City until the age of 11 by parents who she says did not speak to each other for a long time, Mary started fifth grade at a regular school and faced a difficult and painful transition.

"She had terrible testing anxiety because I never tested her when home-schooling," said her mother, Kim Reagan. “She went to bed crying every night for two weeks. So I made her get into a rhythm of chanting for 15 minutes after every 30 minutes of studying, and she scored the highest in her class."