African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the West

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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Sherlock » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:00 am

According to Indrajala Fo Guang Shan is protestant enough within Taiwan thouh.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Zhen Li » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:21 am

rory wrote:Even the local FGS temple in my area where the member are 98% Asian is stark: a modernist wood and glass structure, no incense or incense burners, 1 Buddha statue and 1 bodhisattva. That's it. Makes me feel like I'm visiting my New England friends' church.

From what I have seen, this isn't that common. The one here is quite beautifully cluttered.
rory wrote:AlexanderS....and no I cannot see why POC would want to come to you in your white part of town; can't you get up and go and meet them where they are?

While the English speaking Sangha here is very diverse and there aren't areas of town for certain races. In the US I can see that may be so (E.g. SouthEast USA). But why wouldn't a Sangha build there? Maybe because either no one will go, or because they won't have the funds to support themselves there. Sanghas survive off donations, hence why Buddhism arose and thrived among the merchant caste in India - who joins is another matter, and if an untouchable or non-Eurasian wants to join, then they can - though in late Indian Buddhism caste played a larger role. We simply can't take up the white man's (Eurasian man and woman's? :P ) burden, as you seem to be suggesting we should, since in the real world you need to have patrons to pay the bills. If you want to foot the bill, why haven't you? Why don't you write a cheque to a Sangha to build a temple in Detroit (actually FGS did this already)? As you seem to have some disdain for FGS, you should know that they have made great pains to introduce the Dharma to the black world, and have built 6 temples in South Africa, one in Malawi and one in the Congo and have a number of black monks who speak very good Chinese. Perhaps you should consider sending them a donation or two.
rory wrote:According to Indrajala Fo Guang Shan is protestant enough within Taiwan thouh.

I personally wouldn't suggest Ven. Indrajala as an authority on Fo Guang Shan, though he is very learned and a good writer on other matters, one bad experience is enough to paint anyone's glasses rose coloured, Ven. Huifeng I would suggest an authority on FGS. Essentially, FGS is quite conservative of Chinese culture in a country where it has been by and large replaced by American or Japanese culture. Other temples do too, but they are not quite as large or as influential. Where FGS is protestant, if at all, is in it's emphasis on education, both monastic and secular, and in the use of modern technology and arts for the spread of Dharma - song, dance, television, radio, etc. The temples are also built to modern standards, though some may seem simple. Another somewhat innovative emphasis is on spreading the Dharma through making 'good affinities,' which means introducing anyone to the Dharma in small degrees, without requiring them to read lengthy books or listen to lectures, by having events and attractions that can draw in the public - which, if it creates a good impression, can draw them back to the Dharma in this or a future life. But by and large I think you'll find it very traditional and conservative if you try to live there, contrasted with living in the cities in Taiwan, which might strike one as a bit more materialistic than those in the west.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Huifeng » Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:22 am

Sorry to but in, but here are some FGS shrines, randomly chosen...

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Main Shrine, FGS, Taiwan, with three Buddhas here, couple of thousand buddhas in little niches throughout the shrine (out of shot), large censor (another outside), 5' high candles, flower offerings, etc. etc. the usual sort of thing.

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Hsi Lai Temple, LA. Pretty much the same. See those little niches around the Buddhas, they're more Buddhas! Several thousand of them, in fact.
Hey, it's Ven. Huidong -- what's up, brother?

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Nan Tien Temple, Australia, whole bunch of Buddhas there, five dhyani buddhas, in fact, with those psychedelic dhyani Buddha colors, too. Guess what's in the niches on the walls... ;-)

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Back at the mothership, just down the stairs from the Pilgrims' Lodge. Yup, arhats, 500 of them, in fact.

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Here we have three BOCs (Buddhas of color) at FGS's Nan Hua Temple, Gauteng, South Africa.

And while we're at SA, considering the original gist of the thread, here's an old photo of mine, with a whole lot more BOCs (Buddhas of color)*
ABS 2001.jpg
ABS 2001.jpg (116.98 KiB) Viewed 764 times

Though, to be honest, these young Buddhas are not African American, but just the regular type of African, mainly from South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi and Madagascar, in this particular case (hope I haven't missed anyone, oops, the Kiwi...).

* Of course, in ye olde Zuid Afrika back in the bad old days, these would just be "Buddhas of black", and only one of them (Andreas)--and all the Chinese--would count as "Buddhas of color". Hopefully we've moved past that now. Heck, the very fact that we all lived there like that says something, huh?

etc. etc.

Not really very Protestant, in fact. Really, just the general thing you'll see in contemporary Chinese / Taiwanese / HK Buddhism anywhere in the world. Sure, they're a bit touched up compared to Qing and earlier monasteries, but hey, who wants that kind of crazy architecture in the 21st century anyway. I remember freezing my butt off in morning service in the middle of winter in Yangzhou because the wind just whips straight in under the door... sorry, I digress. :offtopic:

If you have any questions about FGS, please feel free to ask. Though I strongly encourage you to ask somebody who has a good understanding of FGS, rather than just some anecdotal thoughts or opinions from visiting here and there. And if you're looking for a non-Chinese person to explain it to you, I'm as qualified as any. :tongue:

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program... :namaste:

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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby AlexanderS » Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:37 pm

rory wrote:AlexanderS....and no I cannot see why POC would want to come to you in your white part of town; can't you get up and go and meet them where they are?
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I live in an almost "all-white" country. More or less all the parts of my town are white. The biggest black ethnic minority in my country are mainly somali refugees and immigrants. They are also the most extreme muslim, most criminal and most unharmonious ethnic group in my country. I can tell you quite truthfully that they are not receptive to buddhadharma and especially not to words that come from the mouth of someone like me.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Malcolm » Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:14 pm

rory wrote:Malcolm: Oh it's a big issue here. In most Dharma centers you never find the rituals that are normal back in Asia.


Well, clearly you have never been to a Tibetan Buddhist center in the US.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:34 pm

zsc wrote:So to be clear, if people want to encourage convert poc Buddhists, listening to them is a great first step, whether it's the written word, videos, or people offline sharing with you (I'm using the plural, impersonal "you" here). Reflecting about how you may be complicit in racist (or other discriminatory) structures is a good next step. As you incorporate listening and reflection into your practice, and seeing how all of this unravels, you will begin to see your role more clearly. It all depends on individual circumstances, as well as on a person's ethnicity. We're not all the same.


I appreciated the rest of your post, but I find this somewhat condescending. If you can't advocate for your poc-centric Dharma practice concept in any way other than to imply complicity in institutional racism from those who aren't swayed, then I think you should examine what you are hoping to actually achieve with public dialogue on this subject. It isn't just the white Dharma folks that need to examine their motivations behind this stuff, is it?

I don't believe in "colorblindness", I don't think it's possible for most of us, and indeed..sometimes it's just an excuse to not rectify injustice. I enjoy being around different types of people, and I would prefer a more diverse Mahasangha in the US for sure. I am on your side, in that I can see this is an actual problem.. I just think that beyond the exhortations for white people to examine themselves, you haven't made any discernible points on how to really change things. I can find any number of essays and statements for me to examine my white privilege, it's not a new concept. And at least for my part, I do think about this stuff pretty regularly, and make no claim of being beyond it.

So..maybe to find some clarity in the discussion, instead of focus on vague stuff about how people should "just listen" etc. (people are, near as I can see), i'd actually be interested in knowing what are some proposed solution to less white- centric Dharma centers (if that's even possible), and what practical steps individual sangha members should take. Now I can imagine this might be met with a reply that I am trying to use my privilege to set the terms of the debate, but i'm not..i'm just not interested in convincing strangers about what things I have and have not contemplated..and I figure it's probably more productive to hammer out some more concrete stuff than asking for navel-gazing about discriminatory structures etc.

I'm also interested to know how people could make changes without altering their practices in a non-beneficial way. For instance, a series of classes on Mahamudra, or an in depth explanation of The Diamond Sutra is simply going to attract middle to upper class people with a certain level of education (as a general rule at least), obviously since whites will have more access to education as a demographic group, it will attract (likely) more whites than anyone else. I am not sure how that could be remedied without actually messing with what is being taught.

RikudouSennin wrote:My physical body is black, most of my family and black friends just aren't interested in things too outside the box. The fact there is so much cultural attachment to Buddhism makes it seem too foreign, but Dzogchen if taken the time to be introduced to our community without the extra cultural attachments is probably the best start.. this is just my opinion of course.



Was hoping you'd chime in again...

That's interesting, what about Dzogchen do you think would attract the black community?

Honestly to me (never raised Christian, raised by white hippies, big surprise) the religion of poor whites and poor blacks does not appear very different in terms of the things it emphasizes, they are generally devotional forms of Christianity with different outwards expressions. From that point of view..class seems like the biggest determinant to me in what sort of Buddhism people are interested in. This seems to be the case in Buddhist countries as well...with more devotional forms being popular as you go down the economic scale. I don't think it's wrong by any means, and I wish there were more "mobility" in that area..but that seems to be how it is. Devotion of course is a completely valid focus for Buddhist practice, it just seems that the lower down the economic rungs we go, the more it's emphasized, and the less interest there is in more abstract meditative forms and philosophy.

For instance, how would a prospective black Dharma student be attracted to something like Trekcho? I'm also interested to know, since you are a practitioner, do you consider your own attraction to Dharma due to being an exception within the black community in terms of stuff you are interested in, or do you think there is something universal that would attract others in a similar way?
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Adi » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:50 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:...If you can't advocate for your poc-centric Dharma practice concept in any way other than to imply complicity in institutional racism from those who aren't swayed, then I think you should examine what you are hoping to actually achieve with public dialogue on this subject….


I was fortunate to have a wonderful professor in college who spent an entire class analyzing and explicating one of the most popular slogans of the 1960's, "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem." He spoke eloquently of the dangers of this kind of either/or, black/white (no humor intended but it's there anyway) kind of thinking especially as it can lead to a kind of moral arrogance that disallows for any other point of view. Of course some people may hold the view that things are indeed composed of only two sides but in my experience the world and the people in it are three-dimensional and academic arguments about what someone is if they don't comply with one side or the other are just that -- academic arguments. While interesting, they do not address the daily issues of people living in the world, their particular problems and what can be done to help.

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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby rory » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:28 am

Adi wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:...If you can't advocate for your poc-centric Dharma practice concept in any way other than to imply complicity in institutional racism from those who aren't swayed, then I think you should examine what you are hoping to actually achieve with public dialogue on this subject….


I was fortunate to have a wonderful professor in college who spent an entire class analyzing and explicating one of the most popular slogans of the 1960's, "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem." He spoke eloquently of the dangers of this kind of either/or, black/white (no humor intended but it's there anyway) kind of thinking especially as it can lead to a kind of moral arrogance that disallows for any other point of view. Of course some people may hold the view that things are indeed composed of only two sides but in my experience the world and the people in it are three-dimensional and academic arguments about what someone is if they don't comply with one side or the other are just that -- academic arguments. While interesting, they do not address the daily issues of people living in the world, their particular problems and what can be done to help.

Adi


Oh my gods, you're dumping on the two African-American posters! Rev. Myokei Caine-Barrett says white liberals are the worst and you're proving every single assertion she makes.I'm really shocked and pretty much appalled. Here is are 2 nice links to wake you up, Rev. Myokei has them on her fb page. I always read her blog links as I know her and respect her.
http://www.alternet.org/what-white-people-need-learn
http://www.upworthy.com/2-women-just-pr ... you-can-do

gassho
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Adi » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:32 am

rory wrote:... Rev. Myokei Caine-Barrett says white liberals are the worst and you're proving every single assertion she makes….


How so? And what are you talking about? I've re-read my post several times now and I can't figure out how you've come to this conclusion.

Parenthetically, I am not a "white liberal."

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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby AlexanderS » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:41 pm

rory wrote:
Adi wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:...If you can't advocate for your poc-centric Dharma practice concept in any way other than to imply complicity in institutional racism from those who aren't swayed, then I think you should examine what you are hoping to actually achieve with public dialogue on this subject….


I was fortunate to have a wonderful professor in college who spent an entire class analyzing and explicating one of the most popular slogans of the 1960's, "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem." He spoke eloquently of the dangers of this kind of either/or, black/white (no humor intended but it's there anyway) kind of thinking especially as it can lead to a kind of moral arrogance that disallows for any other point of view. Of course some people may hold the view that things are indeed composed of only two sides but in my experience the world and the people in it are three-dimensional and academic arguments about what someone is if they don't comply with one side or the other are just that -- academic arguments. While interesting, they do not address the daily issues of people living in the world, their particular problems and what can be done to help.

Adi


Oh my gods, you're dumping on the two African-American posters! Rev. Myokei Caine-Barrett says white liberals are the worst and you're proving every single assertion she makes.I'm really shocked and pretty much appalled. Here is are 2 nice links to wake you up, Rev. Myokei has them on her fb page. I always read her blog links as I know her and respect her.
http://www.alternet.org/what-white-people-need-learn
http://www.upworthy.com/2-women-just-pr ... you-can-do

gassho
Rory


I get the impression you want people to feel guilty for having white skin colour.

That first article you posted there is in my opinion, racist. Saying that white identity(whatever that is) is being proud of racial opression. If I had to spend some time pondering about what white people could be proud of, I could say our artistic and creative achievements in litterature, sculpture, architecture, painting, music and movies. There would also the scientic ahievements of both ancient greece and rome, but also the massive scientific and techological developments of since the enlightment period. Not to mention philosophy and the birth of both ancient and modern day democracy.

I'm not a white american so I don't have this ancestral baggage. Even so, if we get too attached to the misdeeds of our ancestors, how do you think modern day germans feel? Lots of them have or had grandparents who were part of probably the most or one of the most evil regimes of all time.

I acknowledge that there is still plenty of racism in the western world towards poc. But it also goes the other way around. There is racism in all parts of the world. In tons of places in Africa there are prices for white people and much much lower prices for black people. In several countries in Africa I'd be treated like shit if they found out I have no money(which I don't). Same in Asia.

I personally do not consider myself a racist, so I don't feel guilty about it. Part of being buddhist is training in letting go of attachment, letting go attachments to thoughts of self and other. Probably also thoughts of "black and white". So being passionately attatched to black identity can probably be quite counter productive to practice. Also since we in buddhism take responsibilty for our own karma and acknowledge the imperfect nature of samsara, we also undertand that the best way to leading a meaningful life is understanding that it is us ourselves that need to change. That inner transformation is the only path to a lasting happiness and knowing that it is naive to expect that society and other people will treat us fairly.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby odysseus » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:46 pm

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"Bhikkhu Buddharakkhita was born in Uganda (East Africa). He has learned from various masters in India, Burma, and the US and was ordained by the late Burmese monk Sayadaw U Silananda in 2002. In 2005, he founded the Uganda Buddhist Center in Kampala, Uganda, the first Buddhist Center in Uganda. He has been a resident monk at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia. He is the first African monk to open a temple in the continent of Africa. Previously there have been temples in Africa, but all opened by Asian, European, or American masters or teachers."
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Huifeng » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:21 pm

I also know of a monk in the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville, not Congo Kinshasa) who started a buddhist center there in about 2004 or so, Ven. Huiran. He presently has three students who have recently ordained (2012) and are studying in Fo Guang Shan in Taiwan. Ven. Huiran himself was ordained in about 1993 IIRC.

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I'm just posting for the info, not to make a claim as to "who was first". :smile:

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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby zsc » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:19 pm

This is getting amusing.

Johnny Dangerous - Consider the fact that I have already answered your query for concrete steps in the passage you posted. I don't "hope to achieve" anything beyond sharing my experiences. AFAIK, a black person didn't even start this thread so I have no idea why you are implying that "I", as in black people, started this discussion for nothing. We didn't even start it. If you want to be a white ally, then don't expect me or any other poc to hold your hand and do the hard work for you. We're busy enough. As a cis-woman who is a native English-speaking American, I also do not expect trans* people or poc outside of the Anglophone world to hold my hand when it comes to me learning about their issues, nor do I expect them to coddle me as I examine my complicity in systems that oppress them. This is perfectly fine for me.

AlexanderS - The achievements of white people you mentioned have often been accomplished by the exploitation of people of color, either through their bodies, ideas, or their intentional exclusion from privileged spaces. Even despite that, poc basically set down the foundation of math that has made it possible for a lot of those achievements, and we continue to be inventors and innovators. If any white person feels shame, that's not the point. That's not even the purpose. The purpose is for poc to educate themselves so that we can address the issues we face. To make it, yet again, about the voices of white people is just another assertion of white privilege. Edit: It is due to the "naive" idea of fairness that is responsible for, for example, the (recent) admission of women of color like myself into college, even for the recent development. of permitting women to learn to read and write (something that is still being fought for in some areas). I'll take my "naivete" any day.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Jikan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:48 pm

zsc wrote:This is getting amusing.

Johnny Dangerous - Consider the fact that I have already answered your query for concrete steps in the passage you posted. I don't "hope to achieve" anything beyond sharing my experiences. AFAIK, a black person didn't even start this thread so I have no idea why you are implying that "I", as in black people, started this discussion for nothing. We didn't even start it. If you want to be a white ally, then don't expect me or any other poc to hold your hand and do the hard work for you. We're busy enough. As a cis-woman who is a native English-speaking American, I also do not expect trans* people or poc outside of the Anglophone world to hold my hand when it comes to me learning about their issues, nor do I expect them to coddle me as I examine my complicity in systems that oppress them. This is perfectly fine for me.

AlexanderS - The achievements of white people you mentioned have often been accomplished by the exploitation of people of color, either through their bodies, ideas, or their intentional exclusion from privileged spaces. Even despite that, poc basically set down the foundation of math that has made it possible for a lot of those achievements, and we continue to be inventors and innovators. If any white person feels shame, that's not the point. That's not even the purpose. The purpose is for poc to educate themselves so that we can address the issues we face. To make it, yet again, about the voices of white people is just another assertion of white privilege. Edit: It is due to the "naive" idea of fairness that is responsible for, for example, the (recent) admission of women of color like myself into college, even for the recent development. of permitting women to learn to read and write (something that is still being fought for in some areas). I'll take my "naivete" any day.


I would take this a step further. If, among the purposes of Buddhist practice, we aspire to face the facts of our situation, recognize that our actions and intentions have real and meaningful effects on others (and work earnestly toward not causing harm to others), and recognize that all sentient beings regardless of how their bodies are configured are capable of awakening--if you take all this seriously--then trying to avoid the reality of all this by whining about feeling shamed by it all is counter to practice. Consciousness-raising is important for people of color and everyone else too if we are to be honest with ourselves and with each other really and not just in a "naive" way. I can't speak for all "white voices" obviously but I can say that things go better for everyone if everyone, including white people, are willing to really listen and take minoritarian voices seriously (not just racial minorities but women, working people, the poor, LGBTQ persons, everybody)

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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:43 pm

zsc wrote:This is getting amusing.

Johnny Dangerous - Consider the fact that I have already answered your query for concrete steps in the passage you posted. I don't "hope to achieve" anything beyond sharing my experiences. AFAIK, a black person didn't even start this thread so I have no idea why you are implying that "I", as in black people, started this discussion for nothing. We didn't even start it. If you want to be a white ally, then don't expect me or any other poc to hold your hand and do the hard work for you. We're busy enough. As a cis-woman who is a native English-speaking American, I also do not expect trans* people or poc outside of the Anglophone world to hold my hand when it comes to me learning about their issues, nor do I expect them to coddle me as I examine my complicity in systems that oppress them. This is perfectly fine for me.


That reads to me like justification for mere presentation of your own views, instead of engaging in good faith discussion. We are on an internet forum, whatever the situation, if you don't have the patience or inclination to explain yourself, I don't know what you expect from others.

I realize you did not start the thread, I have followed the thread since it's beginning, and I also do not think you represent "black people", that is your projection entirely.

Per Jikan's post..i'm willing to listen, but that's difficult if i'm disallowed from asking clarifying questions or voicing disagreement, or asked to walk on eggshells or risk being perceived as engaging in racist behavior, or lacking empathy.

I run into this same problem (ironically) usually when discussing this stuff with white, heavily college educated liberals here in the PNW, who tend to use the same model of privilege you are using, and refuse to NOT frame every discussion with it. I don't disagree with it conceptually, white privilege is real thing for sure. However, personal experience and plain-language would mean more to me than stuff that could easily come from some facebook friend who is a cultural or gender studies major. That kind of language I am sure does it for some folks, I personally find it a paternalistic presentation when used outside an academic setting..it doesn't carry over for me when you are trying to actually communicate real life experiences, so maybe that's my own baggage at work.

You don't need to hold my hand, i'm just trying to understand where you are coming from.

You have to drop your guard a little to talk about this stuff, if there's things i'm not aware of, it does no good to get mad at me about that..especially if you aren't willing or able to articulate it.

But it's all good, if it's getting too frustrating we can call it good, it seems we are having a hard time communicating, and I apologize for whatever part of that is on me. I also apologize if you actually perceive a lack of empathy, I assure you there is definitely empathy here, and I would not be spending time in the thread if there was not. Perhaps it's best I just go back to reading it for a while:)
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby zsc » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:15 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:That reads to me like justification for mere presentation of your own views


This is what was asked.

I don't know what you expect from others.


Absolutely nothing. This is my second time saying that Buddhist people of color are doing just fine in their own communities, whether white Buddhists want to be apart of that or not. Things will still go on with or without you.

I also do not think you represent "black people", that is your projection entirely.


I never said I represented all black people, but I am a black person.

i'm disallowed from asking clarifying questions


The only clarifying question you asked was already answered. The answers just weren't to your liking.

or voicing disagreement


Voice all you want, just be prepared for someone to say that you are wrong because you are not from the group in which the thread was made for.

or asked to walk on eggshells or risk being perceived as engaging in racist behavior, or lacking empathy.


Is it "walking on eggshells" to consider that your perspective leads you to incorrect conclusions? I never have felt like I was "walking on eggshells" with any other marginalized group when I listened to what they were saying, recognizing that they would know best about their own issues, and considering my perspective as wrong because I'm not in those groups. I don't really even actively think about this anymore. It's filed under "being a decent person" in my mind after so much practice.

However, personal experience and plain-language would mean more to me than stuff that could easily come from some facebook friend who is a cultural or gender studies major.


I am neither, and I understand it, because I took the time to read readily-available resources to clarify what I didn't know. The info is out there for you if you care enough. I'm sure everyone has googled less important topics than this.

it does no good to get mad at me about that..especially if you aren't willing or able to articulate it.


No one is "mad", and even if I was nothing that I have written reveals any lack of articulation beyond a recommendation for people to google what you don't understand.

I also apologize if you actually perceive a lack of empathy


Empathy =/= being nice, or being in a discussion, or pity, but a willingness to put yourself in the shoes of others and consider a perspective unlike your own. When I said that, people were using their own perspective to invalidate mine, with mine being what the thread was asking for in the first place.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:25 pm

So basically, you are not even interested in good faith conversation, got it.

Voice all you want, just be prepared for someone to say that you are wrong because you are not from the group in which the thread was made for.


The thread is about a certain thing, it is for everyone on the forum, clearly.

Is it "walking on eggshells" to consider that your perspective leads you to incorrect conclusions? I never have felt like I was "walking on eggshells" with any other marginalized group when I listened to what they were saying, recognizing that they would know best about their own issues, and considering my perspective as wrong because I'm not in those groups. I don't really even actively think about this anymore. It's filed under "being a decent person" in my mind after so much practice.


Yes, that is actually ridiculous IMO. Not being of a certain background does not exclude people from having, nor voicing opinions, nor having insight on subjects, nor having a right to post about them, even when you don't like what they say. I'm glad to listen to and consider, and recognize that I simply cannot have your viewpoint on these issues due to my own position of relative ease as a white male, whatever else I might be.. but I don't believe it's reasonable to ask others to suspend analysis of things you write on an internet forum due to your own background, which I wouldn't have even known about had you not brought it up.

Voice all you want, just be prepared for someone to say that you are wrong because you are not from the group in which the thread was made for.


What am I wrong about? The only things I've expressed much of an opinion on are that I dislike your assumption that the thread i meant to be a one-sided soapbox, and that I am skeptical of poc-only Dharma centers and similar ideas, not that I think others shouldn't have them, as you say - that's not my call to make, only that I am skeptical they will have the desired effect. Beyond that, I haven't expressed any strong ideological positions, I haven't made claims of color blindness, or anything similar.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby zsc » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:51 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Voice all you want, just be prepared for someone to say that you are wrong because you are not from the group in which the thread was made for.


The thread is about a certain thing, it is for everyone on the forum, clearly.


I'm not saying anyone is excluded from conversing, though.

Not being of a certain background does not exclude people from having,nor voicing opinions, nor having insight on subjects, nor having a right to post about them, even when we don't like what they say.


Never said any of that. Really, where have I said any of that? I only said that you shouldn't be surprised if you're challenged on the fact that since you are not black, you don't have the perspective to have a completely accurate view (if it's accurate at all), and the actual experiences of black people are going to be more accurate than yours. It's "ridiculous" to consider that someone living a life knows more about it than an outsider does?

I don't believe it's reasonable to ask others to suspend analysis of things you write on an internet forum due to your background.


Again, I said no such thing, only that that analysis may be confirmed right or wrong by a member of the group under discussion.

Voice all you want, just be prepared for someone to say that you are wrong because you are not from the group in which the thread was made for.


What am I wrong about?


If you have a more specific question after re-reading what has been said here, I will do my best to address it.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:30 am

zsc wrote:I'm not saying anyone is excluded from conversing, though.


You just seemed to imply that the purpose of the thread was for poc to sort of "report" on the issue and verify whether or not everyone else is correct, that is silly, and actually, the thread is clearly for discussion.

zsc wrote:
Never said any of that. Really, where have I said any of that? I only said that you shouldn't be surprised if you're challenged on the fact that since you are not black, you don't have the perspective to have a completely accurate view (if it's accurate at all), and the actual experiences of black people are going to be more accurate than yours. It's "ridiculous" to consider that someone living a life knows more about it than an outsider does?


One set of experiences cannot by definition be any more "accurate" than another. Similarly, it takes a greater combination of things than experience to make someone "correct" in a given context, empathy, reason, insightfulness, what have you. All kinds of people have all kinds of experiences they draw questionable conclusions from. Experience alone obviously does not make for authority of conclusions - especially in this context, where I'd assume part of the point is to get people thinking, who normally wouldn't consider certain points of view.

zsc wrote:Again, I said no such thing, only that that analysis may be confirmed right or wrong by a member of the group under discussion.


I don't think you're in any position to "confirm" the opinions of other people, any more than I am, discussion about race cannot be boiled down to me asking a random poc/whatever whether or not they can "confirm" my thoughts, I think it's a bit more complicated than that. You don't want me to set the narrative for the talk - understandable, but I don't see any reason that should be solely your gig either.


If you have a more specific question after re-reading what has been said here, I will do my best to address it.


I don't really, but I will re read the thread, and give what you've said here some thought, and next time i'm at the monastery or sangha, i'll bring the conversation to mind and see what I can see, including my own issues.. thanks.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:30 am

zsc wrote: I am a black person.
.


In this birth. In another you were not human, in another you were a world emperor. In another, an untouchable. In another, Warren Buffet would look like a pauper next to you.

Buddhadharma comes first: race, gender, class, position, these things are not really terribly important.
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