James William Coleman was born and raised in Southern California. He earned an MA and PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is currently Professor of Sociology at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he teaches the sociology of religion among other classes. His numerous articles have been published in such places and the Journal of Christian/Buddhist Studies, Buddhadharma and the American Journal of Sociology. His books include The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition published by the Oxford University Press in 2001 and The Buddha’s Dream: Freedom, Emptiness, and Awakened Nature published by Wisdom Publications in 2017. He has been a Buddhist practitioner in the Zen and Vajrayana traditions for over 30 years, and is one of the founders of the White Heron Sangha in San Luis Obispo, California where he currently teaches and practices.