Buddhism's "Race Problem"

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Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Indrajala » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:31 am

I think this is a largely American problem, but correct me if I'm wrong.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/1 ... 44559.html

This struck me as kind of neurotic:

This class of Buddhist meditation was for beginners, tailor-made for minorities. Men could come, but the group happened to be women. No whites were allowed.
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:10 am

Not that I think Caucasians should be excluded; however I do think that the Buddha Dharma should reach more people of melanin as opposed to reaching mostly lily-white/jewish-yuppie-&-hippy type of crowds, the latter of which seems to have been the trend in the west.


Huffingtonpost wrote:SEATTLE -- They came from near and far on a Tuesday night last month for an unusual gathering in the city's chic Capitol Hill neighborhood, a place known for its vibrant restaurants, art galleries and gay bars, not for its diversity. They were nervous, confused and a bit scared. Should they — seven women of African-American, Native American and Asian descent — even be here


Sounds like Salt Lake City: a lot of gay bars, vibrant restaurants, and pseudo-posh & hipster art galleries, yet very little diversity. :roll:

Although there is in Salt Lake City a Nyingma/Kagyu Gompa whose head Lama happens to be a Black Man of the lineage of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche:

http://urgyensamtenling.org/lineage.html

And I think that the Buddha Dharma is a much bigger part of Black people's cultural heritage than most people think.

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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Indrajala » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:23 am

This must be a predominately American issue because where I come from over yonder in the northlands beyond Montana and North Dakota race isn't so much of a big deal.
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby plwk » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:39 am

It's not an 'American' thingy, it's even over here in South East Asia....

From my own experience and for example in some traditional Chinese Buddhist assocoations or temples, there is some kind of a superiority attitude of those ethnic Chinese who have a proficiency in Mandarin/Chinese dialects as opposed to those who don't and in the earlier years, many of them don't bother to cater not only for other races but even the Chinese who are not proficient in Mandarin/Chinese dialects and you can see that their activities and promotions are solely in the Chinese language.
Over the years, that has changed somewhat of being more inclusive like being bilingual/trilingual in their liturgical events and promotions, a more orchestrated effort to include other races and people and so forth. Sometimes, there was also the suspicion that some of these foreign based Chinese Buddhist temples/ centres/ organisations, especialy those from Taiwan are no more but merely cultural centres for their own kind to flock together, especially those who are migrant workers or have become citizens. An example that I knew from some of my friends was when Fo Guang Shan first opened here back in the late 80's, the local community was suspicious of them as somekind of a Taiwan cult that have landed in their community and it took many years of painstaking coaxing and socio-religious programmes and initiatives before the locals could accept that they are Buddhist indeed and actually had the welfare of the locals in mind and not another exclusive Taiwan club thingy. But not many of them knew that the founder himself, Xīng Yún Dà Shī had actually landed here in the 60's and had already created friendships and partnerships with the local Sangha and community, way before the official opening of the first FGS base, the 东禅寺 dōng chán sì, East Chán/Zen Monastery, whose annual Chinese New Year celebrations have become an open and one of the national level events for all races here.

In another case, I was told of one very old Theravada temple that initially started off seemingly to cater exclusively for the Sri Lankans and they don't really welcome non Sri Lankans in the earlier and older days but later things & times changed by the 60's and their doors were more open to others. Under a very visionary Chief Reverend back then up until his demise in 2006, as a result, they expanded quickly and became a force for many socio-religious developments in the Buddhist & local community in my country, especially seeing the entry of the ethnic Chinese who are more proficient in English or are educated overseas, who quickly became their main sponsors and patrons.

If you have read Bhante S. Dhammika's 'The Broken Buddha', I recall him mentioning about one migrant Burmese in the UK who at first found a Theravada temple that was managed by the Sri Lankans and he seemingly proclaimed his charitable attitudes to support them and all that but later as suspected by some, he was no longer found anymore and even came back for his donations given to them earlier as he had found a Burmese temple somewhere else... It's an urban legend here in my country that up until today, some nationalistic Thai or Burmese will only patronise their own ethnic based temple and refuse to enter a temple of the other, denigrate each others' liturgical and religious endeavors and so forth, a reminiscient of their ancient rivalry and hatred back in their own homelands.... Haven't you heard that amongst some conservative and racist Thais, they do not think that Arahantship was possible for foreigners, especially the 'farangs' or Westerners... not to mention to seriously take up the Buddha Dharma as a lifelong commitment...
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:55 am

Sri Lanka (which has a rich Tamil (Dravidians, who often look very Æthiopian) history), where Anuyoga is said—by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu—to have originated in this epoch)....

This is interesting:


About the Buddhist and Theosophist Henry Steel Olcott, Wikipedia wrote:"Olcott was a major revivalist of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and he is still honored in Sri Lanka for these efforts. Olcott has been called by Sri Lankans "one of the heroes in the struggle of our independence and a pioneer of the present religious, national and cultural revival"."

"During his time in Sri Lanka Olcott strove to revive Buddhism within the region, while compiling the tenets of Buddhism for the education of Westerners. It was during this period that he wrote the Buddhist Catechism (1881), which is still used today.
The Theosophical Society built several Buddhist schools in Ceylon, most notably Ananda College in Colombo, Dharmaraja College in Kandy, Mahinda College in Galle, and Maliyadeva College in Kurunegala. Olcott also acted as an adviser to the committee appointed to design a Buddhist flag in 1885. The Buddhist flag designed with the assistance of Olcott was later adopted as a symbol by the World Fellowship of Buddhists and as the universal flag of all Buddhist traditions."


Image


In Isis Unveiled, Henry Steel Olcott's Buddhist Wife H.P. Blavatsky wrote:"Besides, there are many good reasons why the study of magic, except in its broad philosophy, is nearly impracticable in Europe and America. Magic being what it is, the most difficult of all sciences to learn experimentally -- its acquisition is practically beyond the reach of the majority of white-skinned people; and that, whether their effort is made at home or in the East. Probably not more than one man in a million of European blood is fitted -- either physically, morally, or psychologically -- to become a practical magician, and not one in ten millions would be found endowed with all these three qualifications as required for the work. Civilized nations lack the phenomenal powers of endurance, both mental and physical, of the Easterns; the favoring temperamental idiosyncrasies of the Orientals are utterly wanting in them.

"In the Hindu, the Arabian, the Thibetan, an intuitive perception of the possibilities of occult natural forces in subjection to human will, comes by inheritance; and in them, the physical senses as well as the spiritual are far more finely developed than in the Western races. Notwithstanding the notable difference of thickness between the skulls of a European and a Southern Hindu, this difference, being a purely climatic result, due to the intensity of the sun's rays, involves no psychological principles. Furthermore, there would be tremendous difficulties in the way of training, if we can so express it. Contaminated by centuries of dogmatic superstition, by an ineradicable -- though quite unwarranted -- sense of superiority over those whom the English term so contemptuously "niggers," the white European would hardly submit himself to the practical tuition of either Kopt, Brahman, or Lama. To become a neophyte, one must be ready to devote himself heart and soul to the study of mystic sciences. Magic -- most imperative of mistresses -- brooks no rival. Unlike other sciences, a theoretical knowledge of formulai without mental capacities or soul powers, is utterly useless in magic. The spirit must hold in complete subjection the combativeness of what is loosely termed educated reason, until facts have vanquished cold human sophistry."


So it seems that generally speaking, Caucasus-Asians or Caucus-asians have to work harder than Asians—and melanated people in general—for their Spiritual development.
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:38 am

If it makes people feel more comfortable to approach the dharma, I am all for it. As the article stated, hopefully at one point they will join the larger centres and contribute to greater Buddhist diversity in general. It is a way in for people who may feel marginalized in society.
But I agree that this probably depends greatly on the geographical location. If the city is relatively well-integrated, then there might not be such a need for race-specific groups. But if there is a great deal of racial tension/inequality, then people might feel more comfortable in protected situation.
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:49 am

The article that Huseng posted mentioned Seattle specifically, and how Seattle (or at least the mentioned district there) is not very racially diverse at all; and in my experience, Caucasian (whether Ashkenazi or 'pure' Anglo-Saxon) "liberals" are often as racist as Caucasian "Conservatives" are. At least the latter are usually more open about it, whereas with the former their racism is behind people of darker skin-tone's backs most of the time. Places like Seattle, Portland, and Salt Lake City have no shortage of racist "liberals" amongst all the coffee shops, gay bars, fancy restaurants & (pseudo) posh art galleries.
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:11 am

So it would seem there is a need, so it it good there are options for people.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:25 am

In Isis Unveiled, Henry Steel Olcott's Buddhist Wife H.P. Blavatsky wrote:"Besides, there are many good reasons why the study of magic, except in its broad philosophy, is nearly impracticable in Europe and America...The spirit must hold in complete subjection the combativeness of what is loosely termed educated reason, until facts have vanquished cold human sophistry."


So it seems that generally speaking, Caucasus-Asians or Caucus-asians have to work harder than Asians—and melanated people in general—for their Spiritual development.
Yeah, well, if Blavatsky said it, it must be true! Right? :rolleye:

What a bunch of complete and utter baloney! The tathagatagarbha exists in all sentient beings regardless of their skin colour or even species! Anyway, who says that Buddhism is magic? Looking at the workings of ones mind is magic? Since when?

Utilising Blavatsky as an authority also tends to overlook "current" historical discoveries about the influence/impact of Hellenic "caucasians" on Buddhism. Influences that existed 1000+ years (327BCE to be exact) before the colonisation of India and Sri Lanka by Anglo "caucasians". Evidence of "caucasian" Buddhist empires that boasted sending 30,000 Greek Buddhist monks to the inauguration of the Great Stupa in Sri Lanka. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhism Time to update your sources Lhug-pa, your theories are trapped in a time warp.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:54 am

H.P. Blavatsky didn't ever imply that Caucasians don't have Buddha Nature (she—as a Caucasian Buddhist herself—took formal Refuge after-all). She was only saying that the Path would be more difficult to most Caucasians (perhaps part of it has to do with lack of melanin and calcification of the pineal gland?); which reminds me of a discussion from another thread, quoting Longchenpa along similar lines:


Longchen Rabjam wrote:The Array of Inlaid Gems states:

They have powerful limbs, a dark complexion,
even, white, rounded teeth, slightly bloodshot eyes,
and hair of great quality, dark brown and curling clockwise.
They show little concern for their appearance,
and outwardly their conduct is quite ordinary.
These people speak forthrightly,
or else they echo all the words that others speak to them.
It is said that they are to be instructed in the Great Perfection.
If all these qualities are complete in anyone,
regardless of how low that person's status may be
even if a butcher, a prostitute, a sweeper, or a hunter
this vital essence of the secret pith instructions should
be conferred.
tomamundsen wrote:
Lhug-Pa wrote:I'm guessing that it was composed primarily with Tibetans in mind. I'm hoping that one doesn't have to literally fit the above criteria to be a Dzogchenpa.

Doesn't seem like it. Just seems that if you don't fit the criteria there might be more difficulty.

Sounds like he is describing a rastafarian :rolling:



Are H.P. Blavatsky's writings—as exhaustive as they may seem—complete? Of course not. Mainly because—whether or not she received teachings from Lamas in Dream Yoga states as is claimed for her (although why wouldn't she have, considering that both the Panchen Lama and H.H. the Dalai Lama have approved of her writings)—Vajrayana (albeit the pinnacle of Magic (root-word = Magi) & Practical Occultism) was not allowed to be taught openly to Westerners back then.

Anyhow, Western archeologists are still far behind H.P. Blavatsky in some aspects, for example:


H.P. Blavatsky wrote:...the difficulty of the archaeologists still exists, if not in the fact of idols being ascribed to early Buddhists, then in the physiognomies, in the type of all these Enkay-Tenkay Buddhas.

They all, from the tiniest to the hugest, are Negroes, with flat noses, thick lips, forty-five degrees of the facial angle, and curly hair!

There is not the slightest likeness between these negro faces and any of the Siamese or Tibetan Buddhas, which all have purely Mongolian features and perfectly straight hair.

This unexpected African type, unheard of in India, upsets the antiquarians entirely. This is why the archaeologists avoid mentioning these caves.


The history of Buddhism in Greece is very interesting too. I plan on learning more about it for sure. And I wonder if Greece wasn't more racially-diverse in ancient times. Well it was in very ancient times no doubt; however I mean ancient times as in around 327 BCE specifically, when, as you said, 30,000 Greek monks attended the inauguration of the Great Stupa in Sri Lanka. I'm sure that many of them would have been Caucasian at any rate.

Both Vajranatha (John Myrdhin Reynolds) and Alexander Berzin—two of the few Western authors on the Buddha Dharma whose work I enjoy reading—have apparently done some research on Hellenic, Greek, Gandharan, etc. Buddhism that is very interesting from what I've seen so far.

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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:10 am

Lhug-Pa wrote:H.P. Blavatsky didn't ever imply that Caucasians don't have Buddha Nature (she—as a Caucasian Buddhist herself—took formal Refuge after-all). She was only saying that the Path would be more difficult to most Caucasians (perhaps part of it has to do with lack of melanin and calcification of the pineal gland?)
What do the pineal gland and melanin have to do with mind? What happens to a albino "negroid" or "asian" then? Are they also incapable of spiritual progress? Sorry but this ridiculous theory is just full of holes.
H.P. Blavatsky wrote:...the difficulty of the archaeologists still exists, if not in the fact of idols being ascribed to early Buddhists, then in the physiognomies, in the type of all these Enkay-Tenkay Buddhas.

They all, from the tiniest to the hugest, are Negroes, with flat noses, thick lips, forty-five degrees of the facial angle, and curly hair!

There is not the slightest likeness between these negro faces and any of the Siamese or Tibetan Buddhas, which all have purely Mongolian features and perfectly straight hair.

This unexpected African type, unheard of in India, upsets the antiquarians entirely. This is why the archaeologists avoid mentioning these caves.
Please post a picture of the abovementioned Buddhas. I have only seen one example of this type of statue, it was a photo in a book. Have you or anybody here actually seen one of these statues. The only references to them that I have come across is in the Blavatsky book.
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:27 am

gregkavarnos wrote:What happens to a albino "negroid" or "asian" then? Are they also incapable of spiritual progress?


Never said that anyone was incapable of Spiritual progress.


gregkavarnos wrote:Please post a picture of the abovementioned Buddhas. I have only seen one example of this type of statue, it was a photo in a book. Have you or anybody here actually seen one of these statues. The only references to them that I have come across is in the Blavatsky book.
:namaste:


You saw that photo in—may I ask—which book?

Here are some pictures that come to mind right now, although I don't know their exact origins off-hand:

Google Image Search

(It seems that only one or two on the first page of that search^ is Cambodian)

I'd like to find more, specifically from the said Enkay-Tenkay apparently near Chandvad or Chandwad India.

About the said Black Buddhas, and Deities, I don't see any reason why H.P. Blavatsky, E. Valentia Straiton, Albert Churchward, Gerald Massey, Godfrey Higgins, etc. would make it all up. They must have had some good reason for looking into it.

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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:00 pm

I don't remember the name of the book, if I remember correctly it was a French language book on Buddhist art forms. As for the pictures you linked to, just because a Buddha statue is made from black material (black jade or ebony) does not mean that it is trying to depict a "negro". Of all the photos in the link only the first row contains photos of some statutes with distinctly African facial characteristics and they seem to be photos of the same statue. Again this is very weak evidence for an African root to Buddhism. I mean it is just as likely that this is evidence of Buddhism going to Africa from India. Possibly via the Hellenic invaders.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:28 pm

If you think you are suffering from calcification of the pineal gland this exercise is a must!!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjDT8IKTrps :rolling:
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Seishin » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:31 pm

I've noticed that the earliest statues of Buddha tend to be Hellenistic in style, whereas the statues being referred to in this thread are later editions.

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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:36 pm

As for this:
Lhug-pa wrote:About the said Black Buddhas, and Deities, I don't see any reason why H.P. Blavatsky, E. Valentia Straiton, Albert Churchward, Gerald Massey, Godfrey Higgins, etc. would make it all up. They must have had some good reason for looking into it.
I have no idea why a bunch of "caucasian" Free Masons and Theosophists would be interested in proving the presence of "negro" Buddhas/Buddhists. I cannot even begin to (nor wish to begin to) try to comprehend the specific mindset/mentality of Free Masons and Theosophists. No thank you!
seishin wrote:'ve noticed that the earliest statues of Buddha tend to be Hellenistic in style, whereas the statues being referred to in this thread are later editions.
Before the arrival of the Hellenic/Macedonian invaders Indian Buddhists did not depict the Buddha at all. They just showed footprints or an empty lotus seat anyway.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:40 pm

Godfrey Higgins wrote:"The religion of Buddha, of India, is well known to have been very ancient. In the most ancient temples scattered throughout Asia, where his worship is yet continued, he is found black as jet, with the flat face, thick lips, and curly hair of the Negro.

"Several statues of him may be met with the East-India Company."


I wonder if the above statues are still around, and if so, if they're available for public viewing....

Like I've said before, authors such as H.P. Blavatsky, E. Valentia Straiton, Albert Churchward, Count Volney, Gerald Massey, Godfrey Higgins etc. weren't naive enough to think that every brown-skinned person is "Ethiopian". So like I also said, they have—even if not in these words—noted differences between Merotic and Nilotic Black people.
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:45 pm

JKhedrup wrote:If you think you are suffering from calcification of the pineal gland this exercise is a must!!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjDT8IKTrps :rolling:
Gee, thanks for that Ven Khedrup! I personally prefer the Black and Decker technique for opening my third eye and decalcifying my pineal gland.

:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:48 pm

Ha

This one is better:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zCxVsww ... ure=fvwrel


(We actually do have a reverse-osmosis drinking-water purifying system in our home for removing fluoride)


gregkavarnos wrote:Now fluoride is to blame for spiritual incapacity and inadequacy? :zzz:


No it isn't. But it contributes to spiritual incapacity and inadequacy.

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:49 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:I wonder if the above statues are still around, and if so, if they're available for public viewing....
it would be interesting to see if they are still around, they are probably part of private collections, I imagine. The English were pretty good at stealing ancient artifacts.
Like I've said before, authors such as H.P. Blavatsky, E. Valentia Straiton, Albert Churchward, Count Volney, Gerald Massey, Godfrey Higgins etc. weren't naive enough to think that every brown-skinned person is "Ethiopian". So like I also said, they have—even if not in these words—noted differences between Merotic and Nilotic Black people.
Yeah, whatever. Like I said before, I am not interested at all in Theosophical/Masonic theories on race. Plus it is not really relevant to the whole discussion.
We actually do have a reverse-osmosis drinking-water purifying system in our home for removing fluoride.
Now fluoride is to blame for spiritual incapacity and inadequacy? :zzz:
:focus:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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