"On White Women and Buddhism"

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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby Jikan » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:44 pm

kirtu wrote:
Jikan wrote:he'll know if he's white or black when it's night and he needs a cab.


So you are agreeing with the statement that race is a social construct that others use to define you (or impose their view of you on you) and then to execute social rules or prejudices about you?

Kirt


Yes, that's my position. The trouble is that race is something our culture takes very, very seriously. It's part of our political unconscious. The only solution is to bring it to consciousness in its nature as a social construct, which means you have to evoke the category "race" in order to pull the rug out from under it. Much as Buddhist logic evokes things (selves, say, or pillars full of vomit, or the horns of a rabbit or flowers in the sky &c) in order to show their emptiness.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby Jikan » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:48 pm

To give another example: there are ways in which someone's race can change in America depending on what language he or she is speaking. Victor Villanueva has done some interesting work on this. Best examples: I'm an English-speaking white guy becomes *something else* when he's able to speak vernacular Spanish or Arabic fluently with native speakers (or is in fact a native speaker of Mexican or PuertoRican Spanish, say, or Arabic).
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby Luke » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:19 pm

Jikan wrote:The trouble is that race is something our culture takes very, very seriously.

I think it's even simpler than that. People are simply hard-wired to take any visual differences very seriously. Two twins of the same race will be treated very differently by the same people if one is wearing a tuxedo and the other one is wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt. Since people take clothing so seriously, it's no wonder that they take skin color and facial features very seriously.

Jikan wrote:The only solution is to bring it to consciousness in its nature as a social construct, which means you have to evoke the category "race" in order to pull the rug out from under it.

But there is some accuracy to the term race. Most of the people in Japan look more similar to each other than they do to most white people. Trying to deny visual differences is silly. People will no sooner stop doing that than they will stop distinguishing between beautiful and ugly people.

Mixed-race people can just be called "mixed-race" or "mixed." Over time, a new set of terms will probably be created for certain mixtures. That's just the nature of the ordinary human mind. It loves categories and labels.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby rory » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:16 pm

Very true; women who are of the same race & speak the same language & wear the similar business suit are paid less all over the world :shrug:
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby kirtu » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:13 am

rory wrote:Very true; women who are of the same race & speak the same language & wear the similar business suit are paid less all over the world :shrug:


Like I told an economist who used to live next to me who I ran into one morning at one of the local cafe's on her way to the White House to attend a conference on pay disparity: come on, 70-75%, isn't that enough? Sheesh, next you'll want equal pay for equal work. My goodness, what's things coming to?

Oh - they forgot to cut Bundeskanzlerin Anglea Merkel's pay: she makes 15,000+ EURO/month. A PhD physicist dabbling in politics? Clearly overpaid :tongue:

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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby kirtu » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:13 am

Ani Tenzin Palmo talking about an 800 nun intensive retreat, and talking on behalf of a lot of mostly brownish and Asian women. And Ani Palmo is referring to HH the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa.

Part of an Avalokiteshvara intensive

Part 2 (however I think both parts are largely similar with some of the same still shots).

Still it's good to see nuns in practice.....

BTW I've had African American women tell me directly that Asian's are white. So if we use that metric then the OP's question collapses to a certain extent...... I bring this up because of the comments I elicited concerning the conceptualization of race and race issues. Different people in the same city have radically different conceptualizations.

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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby Jikan » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:37 pm

Luke wrote:
Jikan wrote:The trouble is that race is something our culture takes very, very seriously.

I think it's even simpler than that. People are simply hard-wired to take any visual differences very seriously. Two twins of the same race will be treated very differently by the same people if one is wearing a tuxedo and the other one is wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt. Since people take clothing so seriously, it's no wonder that they take skin color and facial features very seriously.

Jikan wrote:The only solution is to bring it to consciousness in its nature as a social construct, which means you have to evoke the category "race" in order to pull the rug out from under it.

But there is some accuracy to the term race. Most of the people in Japan look more similar to each other than they do to most white people. Trying to deny visual differences is silly. People will no sooner stop doing that than they will stop distinguishing between beautiful and ugly people.

Mixed-race people can just be called "mixed-race" or "mixed." Over time, a new set of terms will probably be created for certain mixtures. That's just the nature of the ordinary human mind. It loves categories and labels.


What I'm talking about here is unlikely to make much sense if you haven't spent much time in the US. The visual cues are the only unproblematic aspect of it.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby Luke » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:09 pm

Jikan wrote:What I'm talking about here is unlikely to make much sense if you haven't spent much time in the US. The visual cues are the only unproblematic aspect of it.

I am American. I spent most of my life there.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby Huifeng » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:37 am

rory wrote:Ven Huifeng; I replied directly to your questions in my previous post. Why can't I tell my friends at FGS "I'm a lesbian" without being shunned?

...

gassho
rory


Hi Rory,

Thanks for the reply. But above all I can see from your "previous post" is:

Okay I appreciate your apologies.. Right now frankly I'm having a hard time after about 20 years of Buddhism justifying my participation in a religion/philosophy that's keeps women down. Not now in India where there is good work with the dalits, but that's modern. I don't see any evidence, despite Buddhist leaders knowing better of sexual non-discrimination.

As for Trike, this issue they printed an article on my friend Myokei who is Japanese-African American and a Nichiren Shu priest. Finally, but Trike is terrible in equating Western = Caucasian, as in the US we now have 3rd gen Western Japanese, Chinese & Vietnamese buddhists. But they seemingly don't count. I haven't bought an issue in 5 years and I'm not going to.


Which didn't seem to resolve the issue of how you were excluded from FGS centers, and whether that exclusion was explicit or not; as well as whether the local center had an Abbess or an Abbot - viz the men in charge issue. Well, I couldn't make it out, anyway.

Never mind.

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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby rory » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:01 am

Ven Huifeng;
apologies I couldn't find my long post about FGS. First let me say the positive things:

1. The center is very inclusive of non-Chinese and big on outreach in English. There are Buddhism courses;non-Asians are warmly welcomed, dharma talks are translated, the laypeople are friendly, welcome newcomers & help in learning temple etiquette.

2. Two nuns run the center.

3. The quality of the Dharma teachings; the materials for services was really first class. If I were a Ch'an practitioner as opposed to Pure Land I would have made the effort and stayed.

why I left; Confucian culture. I was constantly asked by the friendly 1 generation Chinese members are you married; do you have children & they looked shocked when I said, no. I would have like to have said I have a girlfriend but I just couldn't cope having to deal with coming out to an entire temple. It was just easier to return to my old Japanese-American sect Jodo Shu which happily marries same sex couples. And the more I thought about FGS the worse I felt as really you, I, the nuns know that Buddhism has no issues with same sex preference. So why is it an issue? Because centuries ago Buddhism incorporated Confucianism, where family, reproduction & having a son is everything.

It's pretty grim as a woman to think Buddhism sold out on radical non-discrimination , the radical view of Gautama, to co-exist with the status quo & the low position of women. The demand for equality for women in Buddhism came from the West. It's Greek philosophy and Roman law that led to women having so many rights as early as 200 C.E. and then again in the late 19th cent when Christian ideas were discarded.

So in all conscience as a feminist how can I promote Buddhism when it has done zero for women? I turned East as I found a philosophy that explained the world to me in a rational way. But years later I've read Greek philosophy: Heraclitus everything is flux Democritus, Pythagoras, Epicurus etc & I've found everything in Buddhism there. It's better for women, I don't have to deal with male hierarchical institutions or the hypocrisy.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby Tilopa » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:51 am

rory wrote:So in all conscience as a feminist how can I promote Buddhism when it has done zero for women?


Buddhism has always absorbed influences from the host culture into which it has been transmitted but to say it has done nothing for women is to ignore the fact that untold millions (of women) have gained temporal happiness, rebirth in a pure land, liberation and enlightenment through the practice of dharma.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby Luke » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:17 pm

rory wrote:why I left; Confucian culture. I was constantly asked by the friendly 1 generation Chinese members are you married; do you have children & they looked shocked when I said, no.

Are those attitudes really a result of Confucianism or of Chinese culture? My sister who is straight and single and in her 30s lives in the US and she gets very annoyed when she is asked those same questions by her ordinary American coworkers. I can understand how such questions might bother you, but it doesn't sound like the people at the temple who asked you those questions meant them in an unkind way.

And anyway, if you really want to avoid any Chinese Confucian influences of any kind, why don't you just try Tibetan Buddhism or Theravada?

I mentioned some great living Buddhist masters in my previous posts, but you never commented on them. Do you think that Pema Chodron "sold out to the man"?

rory wrote:It's pretty grim as a woman to think Buddhism sold out on radical non-discrimination , the radical view of Gautama, to co-exist with the status quo & the low position of women. The demand for equality for women in Buddhism came from the West. It's Greek philosophy and Roman law that led to women having so many rights as early as 200 C.E. and then again in the late 19th cent when Christian ideas were discarded.

But aren't Christians generally more hostile toward gay people? Or is that just a stereotype?

rory wrote:But years later I've read Greek philosophy: Heraclitus everything is flux Democritus, Pythagoras, Epicurus etc & I've found everything in Buddhism there. It's better for women, I don't have to deal with male hierarchical institutions or the hypocrisy.

Hmm, it seems that you are assuming that any male leader is a bad leader. That sounds just as biased to me as the bias that you are fighting against. There have been plenty of bad or unethical female leaders in world history, as well. Although I can understand how you might personally feel more comfortable with female leaders.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby xylem » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:09 pm

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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:26 pm

xylem wrote:The reality is that the sangha has failed women, LBGT people and people of color-- not the dharma. This is a collective failure. Our culture is racist, homophobic and sexist and this is how we're habituated from birth. If anybody wants to argue "which culture" I'm talking about-- it doesn't matter. Racism, sexism and homophobia are endemic and we're fooling ourselves if we're immune to it.


No. I would have to say dharma is sexist, homophobic and racist. From the earliest suttas the superiority of men and inferiority of women has been reiterated many times. That Buddha is always a man is standard. Vajrayana changes this and gives women Buddha status. However, it is explained in Vajrayana that you have to have a "precious human body" meaning it has certain endowments (for practicing tantra). For example, being a hermaphrodite is not a "precious human body." So homosexual bodies are not invited to the karmamudra. Being blind or deaf or missing any of the sense faculties is also not a "precious human body." Being mentally disabled is not "precious." You also have to be born in a "central country" where dharma is taught. So being in a tribal culture in some distant island is not a "precious human body" either. That country must be mostly peaceful with high institutions. So most of Africa is excluded. You can see how dharma is a rather exclusive club and is not all inclusive. In a sense it is justified because achieving Buddhahood is something winning a gold medal in the Olympics (if meditation were a sport). You would have to be world class.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby catmoon » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:29 pm

deepbluehum wrote:That Buddha is always a man is standard.



Gaun Yin. Tara.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby xylem » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:00 pm

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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby rory » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:56 pm

Kirt; thanks for the link, it is inspiring to see. And I really do believe the Dalai Lama is trying to get women to speak up to improve their lives...

As for your being mixed-race, it depends on the race of the person viewing you. My past German teacher is white-German & African-American & was roundly called out in Barcelona for speaking Spanish. Yeah they thought she was Catalan. No fun for her, she finally wound up in the Southern US where she is recognized for who she is, part African and has an easier time. So many times in race discussions, well-meanng people say 'I dont' see color'. But that denies the reality of the person's experience! Black people hate that, because it denies their history and culture which is precious to them. Of course they are denying that to you! So tell them.

The misogyny is in the Dharma, I'm sorry to say. How many times have I had to tell people that you don't need to have a male body to enter the Pure Land. Gautama's aunt Maha Prajapati formed the nuns & she became Enlightened but in the 2,000 years following that example isn't the norm for women in Buddhism. Sure there were nuns but they washed the monk's clothes or as we see in Thailand they died out. If Buddhism were really liberating; women would be liberated!

I know about Pema Chodron, she's Western. Where are the Asian Buddhist women top leaders? There aren't any because Buddhism which is a big part of Asian culture has done zero for them. They certainly have made lay people aware of vegetarianism. So why not women.

And Avalokitesvara? Male, changed to female in China, most probably under the influence of the Daoist Queen Mother of the West, a Daoist deity. Frankly Daoism is more pro-female.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:09 pm

catmoon wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:That Buddha is always a man is standard.



Gaun Yin. Tara.


Guan Yin is a chinese revision of Avalokiteshvara, a male Mahayana deity. Tara is a Vajrayana Buddha. I mentioned Vajrayana includes women as Buddhas. I meant Buddha is always a man is standard of Mahayana and Hinayana.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:16 pm

xylem wrote:Attributing the bigotries of Buddhists to the dharma is as ill directed as attributing the same bigotries of Christians to the Bible.


I don't give novel interpretations to straightforward dharma teachings. People are always trying to reinterpret things to fit their own biases. Obviously being bigoted and biased is not cool dharma. But, playing fast and loose with the lineage teachings isn't cool either. The teaching on precious human life is rooted in sutras which is pure dharma.
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Re: "On White Women and Buddhism"

Postby xylem » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:53 pm

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