Vietnamese and Cambodian Buddhist places of worship illustrate Bay Area’s diversity

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Buddhism is prevalent across the Peninsula, with a recent survey estimating that over 1.25 million people identify themselves as adherents of the religion in San Jose, according to figures from a survey conducted by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

Why so many Buddhists in the area? According to the 2010 Bay Area Census, Asians make up over 23 percent of the total population of the region. Many Asians have carried their religious traditions with them to the United States, and a wide array of different Buddhist methods of worship are practiced here.

Buddhism may be gaining popularity among Americans of all races, with about 0.7 percent of the U.S. population identifying as Buddhist, according to figures from a 2007 Pew study. Many were not born into the tradition: Pew notes that nearly three out of four American Buddhists identify themselves as converts.

In the gallery above, check out images from visits to Vietnamese and Cambodian Buddhist places of worship on the Peninsula.

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