Are white buddhists typically accepted?

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Are white buddhists typically accepted?

Postby Darkrein » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:48 pm

Hi, I've been studying Buddhism for a few months on my own, and I'm interested in attending a local Meditation center (are these the same as an actual temple?). The only thing is, I would be the only white man attending a predominantly Indian group. I know that our local Indian culture is very tight-knit, and my only concern is if i would be accepted. Does anyone else have any experience attending a center where they are in the minority?
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Re: Are white buddhists typically accepted?

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:58 pm

Yes, with Chinese. Both temples were friendly and accepting.

I don't know about Indians.
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Re: Are white buddhists typically accepted?

Postby greentara » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:38 pm

Darkrein, I attended an Indian meditation group years ago, most were Indians with just a few 'whites'
I found the Indians welcoming at first, highly intelligent with a strong devotional leaning. As time went on and I got to know the group abit better; it was pretty much (a closed shop) as they saw each other socially between meetings and also business was a buzz word and most of them were talking about money matters behind the scenes.
In a Thai Theravada center I found the Asians and Chinese would also talk about business soon as there was a tea break but then again there may be many others who would have a stronger spiritual pull. Thats just my own limited experience.
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Re: Are white buddhists typically accepted?

Postby disjointed » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:40 pm

My experience is limited to Thai, Tibetan, and Vietnamese groups and all of them have been really accepting and nice. They didn't seem to distinguish on ethnicity.

I have heard stories about a particular large Chinese Mahayana community in California that was incredibly racist. At one point the community was almost entirely white, but then some racist Chinese started ostracizing all the white people. So it can happen that you face racism. You'll just have to go and see or ask around.

** I just noticed Greentara and I used similar wording!** we must be on the same wavelength
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Re: Are white buddhists typically accepted?

Postby uan » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:07 am

The Chinese community can be rather close knit. My experience with Indians has been entirely different, very open and engaging. Ironically, India has similar issues around racism as we do in the United States, with lighter skin Indians being perceived as superior to darker skin Indians. From a cultural standpoint, Indians tend to be a much more male dominated society- feminism hasn't made huge inroads in my experience (limited to an extent, but heard directly from younger Indian women).
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Re: Are white buddhists typically accepted?

Postby Alfredo » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:32 am

You'll never know until you give them a chance. Possibly different Indians will have different attitudes.
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Re: Are white buddhists typically accepted?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:38 am

Also, in terms of giving it a chance, keep in mind that in some places, where the normal attendees don't speak good English, or where few non-ethnic people turn up, it's possible to get the impression that you are not particularly welcome simply because communication is not optimal. The normal attendees may not really have a plan for "outsiders" (e.g. have nothing in English) which may make them appear disorganised. So give it a good chance...

:anjali:
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Re: Are white buddhists typically accepted?

Postby Adamantine » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:46 am

Darkrein wrote:Hi, I've been studying Buddhism for a few months on my own, and I'm interested in attending a local Meditation center (are these the same as an actual temple?). The only thing is, I would be the only white man attending a predominantly Indian group. I know that our local Indian culture is very tight-knit, and my only concern is if i would be accepted. Does anyone else have any experience attending a center where they are in the minority?


Is it a Buddhist center? I ask because it is a little bit unusual to find a Buddhist center developed by Indians in the U.S.A. Mostly Indian communities are practicing some form of Hindu worship, or alternatively Muslim or Jain practices. This is because Buddhism largely disappeared from India for centuries until recently.

I also ask because for Indian Hindus, especially in India and Nepal it is rare to ever let a white person into a sacred temple. This is because they don't believe we can be sincere devotees, being born into another ethnicity makes us like the untouchable caste. Here in the U.S.A it is a bit different, but some of this same latent prejudice may exist. However, this inherent prejudice is absent in Buddhism. This does not mean that Chinese or Japanese or Tibetans or Burmese will not be prejudice in some way, but that it is not embedded in the Buddhist tradition or teachings and would only be a reflection of something else.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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