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

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

Postby Sara H » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:42 am

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Sara H wrote:
dsaly1969 wrote:Ethnic temples are also generally far more child and family friendly than the "elite" centers.


That's an important observation.

I've also noticed that many of the (for lack of a better word) "white people" Center's also tend to be very child unfriendly, as if they are adult spaces only.

There seems to be an aversion to children practicing, as though , to quote the movie Patch Adams "This is SERIOUS!!!! BUSINESSS!!!!" lol.

And children arn't allowed.

I've actually seen some people speak as though they don't have a right to bring their children, or that it would be wrong of them to encourage their children to practice, or make it available to them.

It's really really weird.

I love seeing children at Dharma Centers.

In Gassho,

Sara H.


I am of the opposite opinion. I don't know how you can really do silent sitting or long pujas or retreats etc. with kids running around the place.

I do not have or want children and am grateful that the monastery I visit most often does not allows under sixteens to stay over night. It's the only space I know which actually caters for single people and is reserved as an adult space. Why does everything need to be "child-friendly"?

Does this mean that you can't have a serious practice if you have a family? I think in the completative traditions it pretty much does - or at least it's a whole lot harder.


I don't think everything needs to be child friendly in the sense of 24/7, but I do think things shouldn't be child unfriendly as in they are never welcome.

I don't think retreats are the place for children under 15 or 16. unless they have gone through Jukai, which usually is after their 15 or 16th birthday that they do that.

But at festivals, informal events, celebratory ceremonies, Wesak, Segaki, and other major events, I do think they have a place there, and should be encouraged to come.

Buddhism is also for families, not just for individuals.

This is not therapy, this is religion. Kids have a place, (and so do families), even if it's not all the time.

They have a right to train in Buddhism too.

-Sara
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IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Tenzin & Söpa » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:32 pm

Sara H wrote:
Knotty Veneer wrote:
Sara H wrote:I've also noticed that many of the (for lack of a better word) "white people" Center's also tend to be very child unfriendly, as if they are adult spaces only.

There seems to be an aversion to children practicing, as though , to quote the movie Patch Adams "This is SERIOUS!!!! BUSINESSS!!!!" lol.

And children arn't allowed.

I've actually seen some people speak as though they don't have a right to bring their children, or that it would be wrong of them to encourage their children to practice, or make it available to them.

It's really really weird.

I love seeing children at Dharma Centers.

In Gassho,

Sara H.


I am of the opposite opinion. I don't know how you can really do silent sitting or long pujas or retreats etc. with kids running around the place.

I do not have or want children and am grateful that the monastery I visit most often does not allows under sixteens to stay over night. It's the only space I know which actually caters for single people and is reserved as an adult space. Why does everything need to be "child-friendly"?

Does this mean that you can't have a serious practice if you have a family? I think in the completative traditions it pretty much does - or at least it's a whole lot harder.


I don't think everything needs to be child friendly in the sense of 24/7, but I do think things shouldn't be child unfriendly as in they are never welcome.

I don't think retreats are the place for children under 15 or 16. unless they have gone through Jukai, which usually is after their 15 or 16th birthday that they do that.

But at festivals, informal events, celebratory ceremonies, Wesak, Segaki, and other major events, I do think they have a place there, and should be encouraged to come.

Buddhism is also for families, not just for individuals.

This is not therapy, this is religion. Kids have a place, (and so do families), even if it's not all the time.

They have a right to train in Buddhism too.

-Sara


This is an interesting exchange of opinions. Like Knotty Veneer I've chosen for myself not to have children, but it doesn't mean I feel aversion towards them. The little 'uns are part of our society, how are they supposed to learn values, skills, appropriate behaviour, and find their place in the community if they don't partake in activities under the guidance of adults?

Personally, I've always had very positive experiences in the gompa I attend. Among other things, I like the environment there because of the variety. There are Westerners and Tibetans, and some people from India too. There are people from all walks of life, there are cerebral people and people more down-to-earth, there are zealous practitioners and more laid-back ones. There are elderly folks, youth, adults, couples, singles, monks, teens and even some small children. During teachings or ceremonies, the children snuggle up next to a parent, or sit quietly, playing with a few toys or drawing with crayons. Or just fall asleep. :tongue:

I think, it all boils down to being mindful and respectful.

A child running and screaming is clearly not enjoying the experience or benefitting from it, and is feeling distressed/bored. In turn, her distress is causing discomfort to other devotees because it disturbs their practice. Why would you want to cause distress to others (your child included) just for selfish reasons? But as long as you are sincerely mindful, I think you can figure out how much your child is ready to face and whether the conditions are favourable or not.
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When there is no one to provoke anger, how shall we practice patience?
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Tenzin & Söpa » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:20 pm

Sara H wrote:There's been a few article's floating around the web regarding what can be done to improve the state of access to the Dharma, and, more importantly, making it welcome to African Americans, and people of color.


Just my 2 cents - and please, understand this as coming from someone who may have a rather naive understanding of racial issues in the US, or at least a different point of view, due to different cultural roots.

Rather than say things like: "attracting more African Americans to Buddhism" which sounds like you're aiming at converting people (something I find rather disrespectful), I would reset the issue as: "how can the Dharma benefit < insert target group here >?"

If your goal is the latter, then it's truly altruistic. You're using the Dharma to benefit others, rather than using people to make Buddhism more "African American" or whatever (which sounds like political agenda). If that's the case, I'd rather focus on sharing the core wisdom of the Dharma, rather than selling the "religion" to a public who may have every good reason not to be interested in converting to an exotic religion. Give people the useful core, the true meaning, not the shiny surface. Make teachings on compassion and interdependence available to a wider public (public lectures, clubs, etc). People don't need shiny statues and exotic rituals. They do need, however, to learn how to overcome hatred, they need to learn how to cope with their suffering, they need to understand their emotions - all things they are challenged with in their everyday life.

Wisdom has no skin colour - or hair colour or eye colour. It doesn't have to be called Buddhism or any other -ism.

Maybe dropping labels altogether is the real key...

Sara H wrote:Many people have noted, that a lot of Sangha's are overwhelmingly white, middle or upper-middle class people.


Is it possible this is due to the fact that this demographic in the West is usually the one that, feeling a profound disaffection with their own traditional religion (usually Christianity, but sometimes Judaism as well), which they find does not satisfy their needs, feels compelled to look somewhere else to satisfy their spiritual needs?
While, by contrast, other demographics, including African American, may already find the support and guidance within their Churches or religious groups?

(Of course, it's not just genuine spiritual needs that prompt these people to turn to Buddhism - for some it might just be the "chic" factor associated with anything exotic)

Sara H wrote:This is very important, because for many African Americans, their culture was systematically wiped out by generations of slavery. Their ancestry may be unknown, as well as any vestiges of cultural tradition. And, because this culture was wiped out, by force, many African Americans are very hesitant to adopt what seems to them to be a "foriegn" culture.


I'm not sure if I follow your reasoning here. Genetically-speaking, I come from an ethnic minority too and its culture was systematically wiped out as well. From this point of view, everything in the world should be foreign to me, including the language which has eventually become my primary language. But nothing really feels foreign to me - I feel a human being and see others as human beings. Your skin colour is irrelevant to me.

My point is that we can't cling to the past. We have to look forward and move on. And we can't curl up in a ball like a hedgehog, letting aversion for anything we could label "foreign" paralise us and stunt our growth. The impression I receive, however, is that this happens a lot within the African American community in the US.

Maybe this is a point where Dharma teachings could benefit the African American community? What do you think?
ཁོང་ཁྲོ་སློང་མཁན་མེད་ན། བཟོད་པ་སུ་ལ་སྒོམ།

When there is no one to provoke anger, how shall we practice patience?
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Tenzin & Söpa » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:01 pm

PS on the topic of Buddhism & the African-American community, I've found some information about Ven. Bhante Suhita Dharma (more here), the first African-American to be ordained a Buddhist monk.
ཁོང་ཁྲོ་སློང་མཁན་མེད་ན། བཟོད་པ་སུ་ལ་སྒོམ།

When there is no one to provoke anger, how shall we practice patience?
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby AlexanderS » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:50 pm

Have none of you seen "The Golden child"?.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby zsc » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:03 pm

Black (Pureland) Buddhist here.

What I find accurate about this thread:

1. "Western" (a.k.a. white) Buddhism is classist and elitist.
2. White liberals are often uncomfortable around people of color, and might I add regularly practice erasure of minority voices when speaking about social justice subjects. This is very alienating.

What I find blantantly inaccurate about this thread:
1. Mainly the post a couple spots above this one. This colorblind racism only contributes to institutionalized racism by attempting to gloss over the lived experiences of poc and gender/sexual minorities with racism and sexism. Conventionally, we are not the same because we do not experience life the same. Labels have real-world, lethal consequences. To ignore the racial motivation of these consequences, as well as attempting to erase the ethnic identity of poc is just neo-racism.

What I think needs to be more fleshed out:

1. As stated before, SGI is one of the most racially diverse Buddhist sects in America...and it is also the one most disparaged among mainstream white Buddhist culture. In fact, the most family-friendly, faith-based sects are. While at the same time, black people and other poc tend to be more family-orientated and seek to join religions that "move" them, and these are often religions that inspire faith. These are also the sects that require less cerebral work and more real-life practice. I'm not saying poc aren't "smart enough", but since we face so many more challenges than white Buddhists globally, there is only so much mental energy one person can spend on addressing racism and sexism, that to be able to come to a place of faith and just rest is like encountering a refreshing spring in the desert.

When resting in the presence of Amida and Kwanseum, I can come back to my peace after being bombarded with racist and sexist macro- and micro-aggressions. When attending the Thai Theravada sangha, I am embraced in a shared experience of being a minority in America, even with the language barrier (while I do keep in mind my privilege as a western American and native English-speaker!). I practice the Mahayana way, but feel more comfortable in this Theravada sangha precisely because they recognize race and gender in a realistic way, instead of ignoring it (and me) like I experience at white sanghas.

Also, while I often read Asian-Americans saying that English-speakers may not get a warm welcome because members of the congregation do not want to be ridiculed for their English proficiency (this happens ALL THE TIME and it embarrasses me as a native English-speaker, especially when other poc take part in this racism), I think a lot of white Buddhists are more sensitive to "not feeling accepted" because they are not used to being the only white person in the room. Put them in an environment where their voice takes a back seat for once, and they are left reeling. This relates to black Americans and others because we hear and read second-hand accounts of how "racist" predominately Asian sanghas are from these white Buddhists and swallow that same anti-Asian sentiment, and this is unfortunate. I see it clouding black Buddhist discussion often.

I hope this didn't come off as too inflammatory as these discussions online tend to, though. I address conventional reality with no malice (which Amida has helped me to do through healing and continues to do so). I tried to include something western poc tend to forget about, which is our western, American (if that applies), and native English-speaking privilege as we navigate the big Buddhist world. It's not a one-to-one comparison with white privilege or class privilege, both of which have been examined in this thread already, but that still comes into play. We actually have to be careful not to absorb the anti-Eastern, anti-Asian, anti-non-English sentiment that pervades the western world, from both within and outside of western white Buddhism.

I pray in Korean, Pali, and English, but I understand that a lot of black people want a black Buddhist culture of their own, and a balance should be struck between checking our western/American/English-speaking privilege by not importing Anti-Asian sentiments into our thinking, and being free to exercise autonomy when determining our dharmic destinies. So the challenge is two-fold. To battle through Asian-black race relations and white-black race relations does not require violence at all, but peace, but our hearts (I mean all parties involved) have to heal in order to successfully navigate this modern Buddhist terrain.

Sorry for the scatter-shot post, I briefly addressed a lot, but I do believe that it's just that complicated.

나무 아미타볼.
나무 관세음보살.

(Namu Amitabul.
Namu Kwanseumbosal.)
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:18 pm

Here's a video of Lama Choying Rangdrol discussing Buddhism on Oakland California public access. He brings up Garab Dorje's three words which strike the essence and presents the teaching in a context that relates to the community:

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

Postby LastLegend » Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:26 pm

I like your post dawg, zsc.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby zsc » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:04 pm

Excellent video, asunthatneversets. I think Garab Dorje's three words capture the process of introspection that it takes to internally overcome racism and sexism quite well. He also touched on a good point of the enslavement of our minds and bodies. This enslavement and objectification of black bodies was not only going on during slavery times, but is still happening to black women such as myself today, as the Miley Cyrus and "Can I touch your hair?" conversations have brought to light. Black men face it as well on both a civil (i.e. "black criminality", the prison complex, etc.) and sexual (a black man's sexuality is often framed as "beastly") level.

LastLegend Thanks :) I actually didn't expect to get any replies when resurrecting this old thread haha.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:49 pm

zsc wrote:but I understand that a lot of black people want a black Buddhist culture of their own


Buddhadharma may have cultural trappings, but if you have the karma to be a follower of Buddhadharma, these things will not get in your way.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:54 pm

That's all true, but really..the only way for middle class whites to become more aware of these issues to have more mixed Sangha, and more exposure. Getting furstrated with whites who are at least trying doesn't do any good, they are just living their conditioning, just like you. If people don't grow up around POC there is only so much you an expect of them in terms of being able to relax and be comfortable initially...people are what they are.

There is no other real solution than learning to be uncomfortable IMO, for white Buddhists and Buddhists of color. In addition, there will always be 84,000 different doors, and it shouldn't necessarily be viewed as completely negative that (for example) those with attraction to (due to education, class background, or whatever.) philosophy go for philosophy, those with attraction to devotion go the route of devotion, etc. It seems that a big part of the answer to these divisions might be events/projects that involve the greater sangha and a sense of ecumenism in the larger Buddhist community. I hope that doesn't sound dismissive of the problems faced by POC regarding Buddhist practice..i'm just saying, skillful means in teaching shouldn't take a backseat in a kind of overreaching attempt to be accommodating.


Funnily enough, in my little corner of white-liberaland, my Sangha is about the least white place I can find in my super-white town, mainly due to the Tibetans..but at least that's there, so it doesn't feel like one culture is imposing it's mores. I grew up in the southwest, where "diversity" is walking outside, and knowing the course of your day means interacting with people who are culturally and ethnically different from you. I think it's good when people have some cultural tension, as long as they can sit with it it makes people grow. For that reason and others, I feel somewhat iffy about different groups trying to consciously create their own Buddhist sub-cultures, it seems a bit forced.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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 05, 2014 9:04 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote: For that reason and others, I feel somewhat iffy about different groups trying to consciously create their own Buddhist sub-cultures, it seems a bit forced.


Seconded.
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http://www.bhaisajya.guru
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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

Postby zsc » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:35 pm

Malcolm wrote:
zsc wrote:but I understand that a lot of black people want a black Buddhist culture of their own


Buddhadharma may have cultural trappings, but if you have the karma to be a follower of Buddhadharma, these things will not get in your way.


See the part in my post about "colorblindness", which is actually racism. Opinions like this one invalidate the experiences of people of color and attempt to shut down conversations about real world issues within the sangha.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:53 pm

zsc wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
zsc wrote:but I understand that a lot of black people want a black Buddhist culture of their own


Buddhadharma may have cultural trappings, but if you have the karma to be a follower of Buddhadharma, these things will not get in your way.


See the part in my post about "colorblindness", which is actually racism. Opinions like this one invalidate the experiences of people of color and attempt to shut down conversations about real world issues within the sangha.


It does not invalidate anything. A caucasian, I have personally experienced very intense racism at the hands of Tibetans. It did not get in my way. People do not become Buddhist unless they have the karmic connections to do so.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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

Postby zsc » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:00 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:That's all true, but really..the only way for middle class whites to become more aware of these issues to have more mixed Sangha, and more exposure. Getting furstrated with whites who are at least trying doesn't do any good, they are just living their conditioning, just like you. If people don't grow up around POC there is only so much you an expect of them in terms of being able to relax and be comfortable initially...people are what they are.


It is certainly easy to be frustrated when experiencing numerous racist macro- and micro-aggressions from a lot of conditioned white people all day, every day. Like I said in my post above I hold no malice, but at the same time I don't deny legitimate emotional responses.

There is no other real solution than learning to be uncomfortable IMO, for white Buddhists and Buddhists of color. In addition, there will always be 84,000 different doors, and it shouldn't necessarily be viewed as completely negative that (for example) those with attraction to (due to education, class background, or whatever.) philosophy go for philosophy, those with attraction to devotion go the route of devotion, etc. It seems that a big part of the answer to these divisions might be events/projects that involve the greater sangha and a sense of ecumenism in the larger Buddhist community. I hope that doesn't sound dismissive of the problems faced by POC regarding Buddhist practice..i'm just saying, skillful means in teaching shouldn't take a backseat in a kind of overreaching attempt to be accommodating.


Being black, being uncomfortable is a way of life.

As for the rest, I didn't read anything that said one practice should be pit against another. It's just the "contemplative" practices of mainstream white Buddhism are used to justify racism (Asian Buddhism(s) being referred to as "cultural trappings", regular erasure of poc Buddhist experiences, looking down on diverse Buddhist sects, etc.) and to assert white privilege. These are why poc Buddhists are mostly invisible to mainstream white Buddhism, which was the subject under discussion. It's not that we don't exist, but our existence is glossed over. I suspect this is why I never see too much participation from Asian Buddhists on English-speaking Buddhist forums. Who wants to read white Buddhists describing their lives like this:

"I am just now remembering that what I wanted in the weeks before finally deciding to learn about Buddhism was “Buddhism for skeptics” or “Buddhism without all that cosmological garbage.” Dr. Asma’s book taught me that’s Buddhism, in fact. If I don’t want to buy into deifying Buddha, karma, etc. I don’t have to."

From here: http://trashbird1240.wordpress.com/2011 ... asma-ph-d/

So it's not that I'm am disparaging the contemplative practices in turn. I only recognize that the common disparaging in white Buddhism is often racially loaded. We agree on the legitimacy of all 84000 dharma doors. This is why I resonate with Korean Buddhism; they sought to resolve Buddhist doctrinal disputes within their own tradition, which results in the freedom of practice in Korean Buddhism today.


For that reason and others, I feel somewhat iffy about different groups trying to consciously create their own Buddhist sub-cultures, it seems a bit forced.


There have been intentional poc sanghas started, and a lot of practitioners in those sanghas express relief that they can now practice naturally, without the added burden of phenomena like "stereotype threat" they experience elsewhere.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:09 pm

zsc wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
zsc wrote:but I understand that a lot of black people want a black Buddhist culture of their own


Buddhadharma may have cultural trappings, but if you have the karma to be a follower of Buddhadharma, these things will not get in your way.


See the part in my post about "colorblindness", which is actually racism. Opinions like this one invalidate the experiences of people of color and attempt to shut down conversations about real world issues within the sangha.



I don't think this is always true. As Buddhists, I think we are expected to try dealing with things ( institutional racism, and even just general xenophobia being an example) in a different way than we necessarily would were we making decision which is informed by conventional political ideology - which seems to be where you're approaching it from. It's true that this sort of thing can be used to shut down important conversations, but it is not always, sometimes it's legitimate criticism of grasping after the creation of insular sub-identities, which can't be a healthy thing in many circumstances. Nor is some sort of separate but equal Sangha setup, or the creation of some racial-identity specific subcultures of Buddhism a very good solution, IMO...there is enough of that in the world already.

The goal should be inclusiveness in the Mahasangha I think, not a desire to have every Sangha in the world be more "fair" by the definition of POC via conventional political discourse. - who I agree get the sort end of the stick if they are interested in finding a group of people that is same-y to practice with. Then again, maybe we all need to get over our need for same-y people.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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 Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:11 pm

There have been intentional poc sanghas started, and a lot of practitioners in those sanghas express relief that they can now practice naturally, without the added burden of phenomena like "stereotype threat" they experience elsewhere.




I have personally never seen what you are talking about in person, so i'm interested in some real life examples.

What I HAVE seen a lot is some white people who are simply not comfortable around POC due to living, and growing up in predominantly white areas..again, this is a situation that is only remedied by people getting over their own issues with it, on both sides - IMO. I don't think that little sub groups defined with demographics are a very good thing for Buddhists, but that is just my view.

Also if you think White Buddhists are only attracted to the skeptical "scientific" type Buddhism, I would say you are way off..Vajrayana has been big with Whites here since it came over in the 50's and 60's.

Associating "skeptical Buddhism" predominantly with whiteness is a pretty questionable analysis of things.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:21 pm

Malcolm wrote:
zsc wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Buddhadharma may have cultural trappings, but if you have the karma to be a follower of Buddhadharma, these things will not get in your way.


See the part in my post about "colorblindness", which is actually racism. Opinions like this one invalidate the experiences of people of color and attempt to shut down conversations about real world issues within the sangha.


It does not invalidate anything. A caucasian, I have personally experienced very intense racism at the hands of Tibetans.It did not get in my way.


I have experienced racism from Asian people, but I do not write off their traditions as "cultural trappings". Besides the complicated aspects of Asian-black relations (which I won't get into here too deeply), but I do understand their prejudice in light of my western/American/English-speaking privilege, as well as what images white mainstream media feeds Asian people about us and what we (black people) are fed about them.

No one is an a-cultural person, but white mainstream Buddhism seems to frame their "stripped-down" practice as culture-free, when that itself is a cultural decision. Only western culture (WASP) is seen as just "normal" while poc have "cultural trappings".

All I'm saying is that it's more complicated than ignoring it, or "not letting it get in your way". It doesn't "get in my way", in fact, but that doesn't mean it is a non-issue.

People do not become Buddhist unless they have the karmic connections to do so.


I do believe this. I also believe that with our karma each of us has today, as well as collective karma, we should begin to compassionately unpack all of the racist and sexist discrimination that we have inherited and continue to perpetuate. I contemplate Sukhvati heaven, and I also don't use my practice to deny conventional reality. Not saying you are doing this, but you have to understand, poc Buddhists are told what you are saying nearly every time we dare to address racism, classism, and sexism, and it reads like "ignore how poorly you are treated and regarded" as if it doesn't matter in our every day lives. It does matter, and it also forms the experiences of many different poc in many ways.
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Re: African Americans & people of Color, & Buddhism in the W

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 pm

You really need to examine your own impression of "skeptical Buddhism" as being a white cultural treasure or something. You are really attenuating the range of Buddhism that white people are interested in, as well as attenuating what "white people" are in the same way you are complaining about being stereotyped.

Granted whites don't deal with the same stuff, that's a given, but seriously you aren't doing your arguments any favors with this presentation of "white Buddhism" as being only the skeptical, secularized variety.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:32 pm

I'm going to end this thread of conversation. No offense, but I think I've said enough to contribute to the original discussion of the thread. This is kind of derailing into a discussion that denies what poc are voicing under the guise of religiousity. I wish I had been apart of the discussion last year. Those responses seem a lot more empathetic and understanding.

I'm fine with having said my piece :)
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