Astus wrote:I don't think this should be a racial question, simply because I doubt it has much to do with it. Education and social situation on the other hand are important factors. It is also a question what kind of Buddhism one talks about. As I've heard Nichiren Buddhism is quite popular among working class people in America.
...That's why those who are less interested in material gains - i.e. those who already have more than enough - want to learn Buddhism and not those who prefer a good meal over a good book.
Those are good points. I once heard an economics professor say that the upper classes in most countries have a preference for imports, or at least for those with "snob appeal." Whether Buddhism has "snob appeal" is debatable. Parts of it certainly seems to, at least from certain points of view.
Namdrol wrote:Interest in Buddhism is an issue of one's karma it has nothing to do with race, education, or even culture.
Ah, but one's present wealth is a result of one's karma and the wealthier someone is, the more likely it is that he or she will have had a good education, and it seems that many of those people in the west who have the karma to be affluent also have the karma to be interested in Buddhism.
Huseng wrote:Man I cringe whenever I hear discussions about 'race'.
Yes, it's not a fashionable topic among the left. However, the elites of the American left often show a great deal of hypocrisy: They publicly say things about equality and racial harmony to make themselves look good among their peers, but then they go back home to their affluent white neighborhoods, affluent white schools, and affluent white social clubs.
Huseng wrote:You think "Asian" is a race?
No more or less so than "white" is. You can make the same argument there: There are Swedes, Germans, Brits, etc., who each have different cultures and slightly different physical features.
Huseng wrote:I think we need to stop seeing people using archaic Victorian-era ethnological models.
That sounds very pleasant and politically correct, but what exactly do you propose in its place? The cliche "Oh, let's just see everyone as individuals" ignores the trends that exist within certain ethnic groups. We're each products of our environments and culture to some extent. As for me, I guess I see race from the standpoint of an American application form: "Race (please check one): White, Black (not hispanic), Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American."
PadmaVonSamba wrote:You may find this article from Tricycle magazine pertinent. It concerns the balance of 'racial' diversity in western Buddhist groups in the United States:
That looks very interesting; however, I can't read it without becoming a member of Tricycle. Perhaps it's posted somewhere else?
mudra wrote:BTW, not all white people are caucasians.
Good point. I was using the word in the standard American sense as a synonym for "white." Perhaps I should have just said "white."
mudra wrote:So the OP's question actually reads something like "Why do all people descended from the race that inhabited the Caucasus mountains (pretty much Turkic) who are educated find Buddhism appealing?" Perhaps that makes the off-the-wall nature of the question clearer. As the Turkic tribes are actually Asian and mostly Muslim, gee how can we say that Buddhism is popular amongst Caucasians? Or is it just the educated ones, don't they have education in Central Asia? (I noticed in my travels in Mongolia a 100% literacy rate, and I expect pretty much the same in Kazakhstan etc due to Soviet influence). Or do you mean us Asians who are slanty eyed and yellow? But then again there's a whole bunch of us who are pretty brown and round eyed. Let's see, Phillipines is pretty Catholic, Indonesia pretty Muslim, India has a large Hindu population? Dang, I'm lost. Which 'Asians' are interested in Buddhism? Oh those that are. Which Caucasians (and other white races) are interested in Buddhism? Those that are. Do I know a lot of Thais and Tibetans who are nominally Buddhist who don't know much about dharma nor are they interested? Yes. Is this horse dead yet?
But despite all the interesting distinctions you made above, the fact remains that most of the people who are interested in Buddhism in the west are nerdy white people.
For example, I doubt that one-third of our forum members here are black. I would be pleased and highly surprised if that were the case, but statistically it's almost impossible.