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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:23 pm 
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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:

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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:

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:14 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:21 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:47 pm 
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Americans and their race fixation :?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:46 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:55 pm 
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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?

Attachment:
hello-aleister-crowley-kitty-300x204.jpg
hello-aleister-crowley-kitty-300x204.jpg [ 10.85 KiB | Viewed 937 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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:56 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:03 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:22 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:43 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:47 pm 
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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:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:48 pm 
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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


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:16 pm 
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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.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:27 pm 
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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.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:26 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:56 pm 
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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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:07 pm 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2d2SzRZvsQ

Perhaps temples should have quotas to be considered non profits.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:52 pm 
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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.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:53 am 
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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".

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:31 am 
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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:

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