Buddhism's "Race Problem"

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Caz » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:23 pm

Huseng wrote: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.


Well if it makes certain people more comfortable. There never does seem to be many non-white people in meditation classes so I hope it will help them get over their Race problem and they will join the community at large. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
Caz
 
Posts: 539
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:49 am

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:14 pm

gregkavarnos wrote: 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.

:focus:


Hear hear. I am sick to death of Blavatsky, theosophy, masons, calcified pineal glands and thinly veiled racism. It has gotten to the point where I am seriously considering deleting any post that even mentions any of the above. This is a Buddhist board, and it should not be used as a platform for the promotion of other religions.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2916
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Indrajala » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:21 pm

plwk wrote: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.


Yeah, I heard about this from a Singaporean lady. There are the "Mandarin speaking Buddhist groups" and then the others. It sounded like many of the Tibetan groups are English speaking.

In western countries there is a wide gap between "ethnic temples" and predominately white "dharma centers". Much of that is due to language barriers.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Nikolay » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:47 pm

Americans and their race fixation :?
Nikolay
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 2:11 pm

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Yudron » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:46 pm

I can see why, if you are from another country, you would be mystified by this. But, if you attend Tibetan Buddhist events in the U.S. it would not be a mystery. Non-white, non-Asian people attend programs in tiny numbers. For example, in the sanghas around here there may be 1 or 2 African Americans in a group of 200 people. And in African American communities there are very few Buddhists. Of course they are going to want to connect with each other from time to time!

My town is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the U.S., and there is one mindfulness meditation center that has a diversity of teachers that set out to attract a greater diversity of people... and it seems to have worked to attract a lot of new people to meditation. They have programs targeted to specific groups, then general programs.
http://www.eastbaymeditation.org/index.php?s=10

I've never been there.
Yudron
 
Posts: 1052
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:55 pm
Location: Sunny California

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:55 pm

catmoon wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote: 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.

:focus:


Hear hear. I am sick to death of Blavatsky, theosophy, masons, calcified pineal glands and thinly veiled racism. It has gotten to the point where I am seriously considering deleting any post that even mentions any of the above. This is a Buddhist board, and it should not be used as a platform for the promotion of other religions.


Ah - but what if we talk about this?

hello-aleister-crowley-kitty-300x204.jpg
hello-aleister-crowley-kitty-300x204.jpg (10.85 KiB) Viewed 899 times


But seriously, I don't get the negroid connection - those features are also found among indigenous people in south and south-east Asia, so finding statues with those features does not prove that there is an African connection.
When I set out to lead humanity along my Golden Path I promised a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern humans deny with words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, conditions they call peace. Even as they speak, they create seeds of turmoil and violence.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
User avatar
pueraeternus
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:56 pm

We should ask the question to ourselves "Why do they not feel comfortable?" Maybe there is something the white folks could do to be more inclusive. Having lived in Asian culture for nearly nine years now, I sometimes feel out of place surrounded by white people as well. Strangely enough. Yes, I do know I am white, but somehow I feel my mindset is a bit different.
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
-Sakya Pandita
JKhedrup
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1951
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Indrajala » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:03 pm

JKhedrup wrote:We should ask the question to ourselves "Why do they not feel comfortable?" Maybe there is something the white folks could do to be more inclusive. Having lived in Asian culture for nearly nine years now, I sometimes feel out of place surrounded by white people as well. Strangely enough. Yes, I do know I am white, but somehow I feel my mindset is a bit different.


Well, being in robes as you are, you're not entirely part of the mainstream anymore. :smile:

I often wonder about the qualifications of people leading such groups. Do they know Dharma? History?

A teacher with both experience in meditation as well as broad knowledge about Dharma and history would presumably be a resource regardless of their ethnic background or immediate cultural mannerisms. If they know their material and know it well, why worry about their ancestry?

However, if it is about "personal self-discovery" and talking about how you feel, then I guess someone you can relate to on a personal level is important.

The Buddhism I read about in this article is quite different from what I study, translate and practice here in Asia.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Yudron » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:22 pm

I think gateway programs like these don't appeal much to people like you or I. Even at the beginning I would have found them boring. But "mindfulness" programs and the like appeal to more people than a lot of traditional programs, and serve as a gateway.
Yudron
 
Posts: 1052
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:55 pm
Location: Sunny California

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Jikan » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:43 pm

I don't think Buddhism has a race problem. I think the world has a race problem in different ways; it expresses itself strongly and obviously in the US, for better and for worse. At least some people talk about it here sometimes and are willing to admit it's an issue sometimes...

I don't know if this is an effective way to address the situation or not. Time will tell. I'd like to see a more diverse and inclusive sangha, that's for certain.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4290
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Nikolay » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:47 pm

Yudron wrote:I can see why, if you are from another country, you would be mystified by this. But, if you attend Tibetan Buddhist events in the U.S. it would not be a mystery. Non-white, non-Asian people attend programs in tiny numbers. For example, in the sanghas around here there may be 1 or 2 African Americans in a group of 200 people. And in African American communities there are very few Buddhists. Of course they are going to want to connect with each other from time to time!

My town is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the U.S., and there is one mindfulness meditation center that has a diversity of teachers that set out to attract a greater diversity of people... and it seems to have worked to attract a lot of new people to meditation. They have programs targeted to specific groups, then general programs.
http://www.eastbaymeditation.org/index.php?s=10

I've never been there.

Well, I understand on a theoretical level that there is probably some kind of an issue, because people are clearly working hard to solve it. But I just don't get it on a practical level. Some people attend, some people don't attend, so what? Perhaps they are less interested in Buddhism. I generally like to think that I understand American culture quite well, but such things leave me feeling like a total outsider. :smile:
Nikolay
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 2:11 pm

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Illuminaughty » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:48 pm

Buddha himself was said to have had golden skin, dark hair, curly body hair, and deep blue eyes. I remember hearing that blue eyes are the result of a lack of melanin in the eyes so I don't think the lack of melanin is some horrible spiritual disability. In fact I don't think it has anything to do with enlightenment whatsoever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_c ... the_Buddha
Illuminaughty
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:41 pm

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby PorkChop » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:16 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote: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?)


This statement reminds me a lot of the racists who say that black people have extra tendons in their legs or diminished brain capacity.
Thank Buddha for geneticists who've pretty conclusively shown that "race" is not such a clear cut designation.
Interestingly, I watched a documentary on the pineal gland and it implied that people with inactive pineal glands all tended to be atheists.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Jnana » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:27 pm

catmoon wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote: 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.

Hear hear. I am sick to death of Blavatsky, theosophy, masons, calcified pineal glands and thinly veiled racism. It has gotten to the point where I am seriously considering deleting any post that even mentions any of the above. This is a Buddhist board, and it should not be used as a platform for the promotion of other religions.

Seconded.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby seeker242 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:26 pm

JKhedrup wrote: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.


It would seem so. Our sangha here in South Florida is about 1/2 full of minorities. Black, latino, asian mostly. Race is not even an issue. Nobody cares what race other people are. The Korean born laity of the temple, don't care either. If Buddhism has a race problem, that's news to me! But, South Florida is a fairly integrated area to begin with, over 60% of the population is "minority" to begin with.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 646
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:50 pm
Location: South Florida, USA

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:56 pm

I am really happy to hear that! I want to move to South Florida, let me know if they ever need a geshe and translator :tongue:
I think that the Plum Village Sangha runs "People of Colour" retreats as well, in California. But not in France AFAIK. So it may be a location thing.
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
-Sakya Pandita
JKhedrup
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1951
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:07 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2d2SzRZvsQ

Perhaps temples should have quotas to be considered non profits.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
User avatar
Konchog1
 
Posts: 1227
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:30 am

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby PorkChop » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:52 pm

seeker242 wrote:It would seem so. Our sangha here in South Florida is about 1/2 full of minorities. Black, latino, asian mostly. Race is not even an issue. Nobody cares what race other people are. The Korean born laity of the temple, don't care either. If Buddhism has a race problem, that's news to me! But, South Florida is a fairly integrated area to begin with, over 60% of the population is "minority" to begin with.


My town's mostly hispanic with a lot of caucasians.
There are some black people, middle easterners, and (east, southeast, and south) asians as well, but not as heavily represented.

It makes me kind of sad if people aren't comfortable in a group just because of racial representation.
Every group I've ever been to has gone out of their way to be welcoming to new people, regardless of their background.
At the same time, I have to wonder if the comfort level is all in their head, and their own grasping at a racial identity.
I think the numbers at which certain ethnic groups are represented in Buddhism has more to do with culture than anything else.
One doesn't have to look any further than the most recent Spike Lee movie to see what a huge role black churches play in African American culture & communities.
It would make more sense to me if the people in the article had mentioned wanting to have a spiritual leader they could identify with, rather than being so judgmental about the whole sangha over who else is in the audience.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby Indrajala » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:53 am

PorkChop wrote:
Lhug-Pa wrote: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?)


This statement reminds me a lot of the racists who say that black people have extra tendons in their legs or diminished brain capacity.
Thank Buddha for geneticists who've pretty conclusively shown that "race" is not such a clear cut designation.
Interestingly, I watched a documentary on the pineal gland and it implied that people with inactive pineal glands all tended to be atheists.


"Race" was invented by Europeans and then scientifically justified for a time (up until fairly recently really).

In the ancient world and in Asia until modern times the idea of "races" did not exist. People were obviously aware of physical differences, but humans were not compartmentalized into tidy "races".
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Buddhism's "Race Problem"

Postby viniketa » Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:31 am

PorkChop wrote:It makes me kind of sad if people aren't comfortable in a group just because of racial representation... I think the numbers at which certain ethnic groups are represented in Buddhism has more to do with culture than anything else.


Good observation. "Race" is an outmoded concept, but ideas about race are still very active in society. Differences which are called "racial" are cultural in origin. Even in other threads on this forum, we see descriptions of persons experiencing cultural discomfort in one situation or another. We are all more at ease in a situation which is culturally familiar.

Why do we see more "whites" coming to Buddhism in the West? I would think it is because more "whites" are feeling uncomfortable in the culture of Christianity, particularly "White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism", which is much different than African-American Protestantism or Hispanic Roman Catholicism.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Gwenn Dana, hop.pala, mikenz66, MSNbot Media, Sherlock, smcj and 28 guests

>