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Ebony Mag....

VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
Just wanted to put it out there...

Ebony Magazine, March issue, has an article
'Young, Buddhist and Black'.

A woman at work approached me with the article and we started a conversation. ;)
We talked about alot of related issues and how they intertwine...culturally.
It's a sensitive issue within the Black community...I know this...but as her and I
talked about today, It's just fear. Fear to step out and explore new things.
Fear of even discussing curiosity and what that means. Anyway...If anyone here
reads it...I would be open to conversation :D

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    Forgive me for asking but why is being Buddhist and black such a big deal, exactly....? :scratch:
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    edited February 2014
    I am mutual followers with a tumblr blogger named queerblackbuddhist started following my blog and i recriprocated. She is an interesting character and reblogs other black buddhist posters often so ive learned a lot about the black buddhist community these days. Ive even recently saw a forum post on another buddhist page about why arent there many black people who are buddhist.

    What I think most people forget is that only not even 1% of people in Americans are even buddhist to begin with in a country where only 14% of the population is black. Its a pretty good thing to see the black community starting to find buddhism and I was happy to see the venerable bhikkhuni paravati i think her name is, who is a convert from Southern baptist roots.

    I like variety, when i go to the monastery i see mostly old white people or sri lankan people, its nice to meet the occasional person who doesnt fit the stereotypical mold.
    Vastmind
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    Aunt Fede....
    Why in the world would you need forgiveness ....? ;)
    Cut that out...hahaha

    Few and far between. Black and something OTHER than
    Christianity. African roots too ?? Whew....The roots are deep.
    Long and back....
    Africa, as you might have
    seen on the news for the negative gay treatment is of course
    lead by Christian Tight ropes...and religion is what kept the
    slave population going here In the Bible belt south from Ghana.
    God's love could be comforting during a lifetime of torture... :(

    Anyway....
    Steppin' out with a bunch of hippy white people can make
    even the closest of cousins look at you funny and talk mad
    trash about you...Then...if you are from a church family...
    well...hell's bell's!!!!!.......


    Jay...I'll check it out...Thanks!


    @federica @jayantha


    Bunks
  • I might be wrong, but a lot of black people are evangelical Christians. Of course a lot of white people are too. So it might be a stereo type that black Buddhists would encounter more discouragement from their Christian associates and friends.
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    Vastmind said:

    Aunt Fede....
    Why in the world would you need forgiveness ....? ;)
    Cut that out...hahaha

    Few and far between. Black and something OTHER than
    Christianity. African roots too ?? Whew....The roots are deep.
    Long and back....
    Africa, as you might have
    seen on the news for the negative gay treatment is of course
    lead by Christian Tight ropes...and religion is what kept the
    slave population going here In the Bible belt south from Ghana.
    God's love could be comforting during a lifetime of torture... :(

    Anyway....
    Steppin' out with a bunch of hippy white people can make
    even the closest of cousins look at you funny and talk mad
    trash about you...Then...if you are from a church family...
    well...hell's bell's!!!!!.......


    Jay...I'll check it out...Thanks!


    @federica @jayantha


    if you ever need to step out with a a NON hippy white person I'm there lol. We need to work on changing this "all buddhists are hippies" stereotype thing in peoples minds anyways.

    speaking of Africa: the "first" buddhist monk and community in Africa



    Ven. Buddharakkhita's bio

    Vastmindlobsterpommesetoranges
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    Gratitude
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited February 2014
    ... I don’t think anyone knows the whole way forward when it comes to race, racism, and healing all the suffering involved. The way forward is going to require a lot of conversation, deep listening, deconstruction of attachments to identity, and also new, more liberated ways to both embrace differences and the Buddhist teachings on emptiness. This is especially true for white folks, who for far too long as a group have failed at all of these activities.

    from:
    "White Buddhist Race Talk"
    http://www.buddhistpeacefellowship.org/white-buddhist-race-talk/
  • I was cycling to the East End by the Thames the other day, with my best white hippy bike. Outside an old tenement building I noticed some old cannons facing Germany and mentioned to a passing potential black Buddhist that they should be turned to face the real enemy across the river, the city banks. We started a long conversation, in which he eventually asked me about Buddhism and yoga. This just seems to happen, poor as he was and surprised as he was that anyone would talk to him as a valued potential Bodhi . . . :(

    This guy has prejudice, poverty, poor education, internal dukkha, lack of skills, drug and food allergies to deal with etc. He was making a great start, stopped the alcohol. If he went to most dharma centres in London or the UK, it would not be easy for him.

    However his last words and teaching to me was not to turn the cannons on anyone.
    much love
    hand oh heart, were his parting words . . . before the mobile call from his brother took him . . .

    pommesetorangesCinorjerVastmindDharmaMcBum
  • DaltheJigsawDaltheJigsaw Mountain View Veteran
    Vastmind said:

    Just wanted to put it out there...

    Ebony Magazine, March issue, has an article
    'Young, Buddhist and Black'.

    A woman at work approached me with the article and we started a conversation. ;)
    We talked about alot of related issues and how they intertwine...culturally.
    It's a sensitive issue within the Black community...I know this...but as her and I
    talked about today, It's just fear. Fear to step out and explore new things.
    Fear of even discussing curiosity and what that means. Anyway...If anyone here
    reads it...I would be open to conversation :D

    Interesting! Thank you!
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited February 2014
    I'll start looking for that issue today.

    and @vastmind thanks for the link. I enjoyed the article. Racial issues have always been in my mind and with the ongoing collective bedbug craziness of a portion of white America that can't wrap their minds around a black president, racism has become the herd of elephants trampling through our political system that nobody wants to admit is there.

    And in Buddhism, it's always been obvious that in the West, it's a religion of liberal, middle to upper class people, mostly. The heavy emphasis on individual empowerment instead of collective support and a need to retreat from society and even the language of paying respect to the "Master" in charge of the Sangha hardly seems attractive to our minority population, does it? For that matter, we're not very inviting to anyone. We build our meditation halls and retreat centers away from urban populations while the local Preachers find an empty storefront for rent and hangs up a sign right there.

    And it's no wonder we're not very inviting, when we imported a model of the Sangha that is designed in the East, where homogeneous cultures have ingrained a rejection of outsiders that make our racism in the West seem tame. In Korea, for instance, if you don't have proof of a Korean father, you're literally nobody to the society.

    And even the message Buddhism tries to preach is geared toward a certain class of people. We wander into Buddhism because we want to discover who we are, and why we're miserable in spite of what we have. If you're poor and black in America, you know who you are and have a pretty good excuse for why you're unhappy. Those white men who sit behind their desks and refuse to hire you tell you who you are every day. Those cops who stop you on the street and treat you like a criminal just for walking on the sidewalk in the wrong part of town are telling you who you are and why you're miserable. And another white dude is going to tell you to sit down and discover you're the one making yourself unhappy with the desire to have what they already enjoy?

    Not much of a mystery why there aren't a lot of minorities in Western Buddhism, is there? Of course, if we manage to get a large enough middle to upper class black population, that may change.
    VastmindDharmaMcBumlobsterzsc
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    Jayantha said:

    We need to work on changing this "all buddhists are hippies" stereotype thing in peoples minds anyways.

    I haven't really come across that stereotype here in the UK...though I admit I did used to hug trees at one time. ;)
    Vastmind
  • DharmaMcBumDharmaMcBum Spacebus Wheelman York, UK Veteran
    @SpinyNorman I still hug them and even plant/replant them too. Green living things are good. I've no doubt a smarter person than myself can show us a connection with Thai Forest Buddhism there?
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    edited February 2014

    @SpinyNorman I still hug them and even plant/replant them too. Green living things are good. I've no doubt a smarter person than myself can show us a connection with Thai Forest Buddhism there?

    "After ordination my ajahn took me wandering in the forests and on the mountains. I learned dhamma from the trees, the grass, rivers, streams, caves, and rocks. I listened to the sounds of birds and other animals."

    Ajahn Mun
    DharmaMcBumDairyLama
  • DharmaMcBumDharmaMcBum Spacebus Wheelman York, UK Veteran
    There you go @SpinyNorman. Told you someone would know. Thank you @Jayantha
  • Can't help but feel like a specimen reading some of these comments. Especially seeing "the black experience" is commonly characterized as one of perpetual unemployment, fear, and ignorance. Not sure how I feel about it. Tis good it's impermanent.

    Please note, we (as in black american Buddhists) exist despite ideas to the contrary. There may not be many visible considering the demographic orientation of many Sanghas and retreat programs (the majority of "visible" Buddhist activities), but the Dharma is universal and thus universally appreciated if given the chance.

    All it takes is exposure and a bit of courage to walk your own way. I don't think that's much different from many western / American Buddhists, but I may be wrong.
    CinorjerVastmindpersonzsc
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    ^^^ HI...nice to meet you :) @Jeongjwa
  • Hi there and welcome, @Jeongjwa

    Where did you first encounter the Dharma, if you don't mind my asking?
  • JeongjwaJeongjwa Explorer
    Welcome? Wow ;-). See I know you mean well, best intentions and all, but that's exactly what I mean by specimen. Just being honest; I've been around here for a little while now. Anyhow let me stop being pedantic and just ^_^ in appreciation for the warm welcome.

    I'm pretty sure I initially encountered the Dharma sometime in a past life somewhere. In this life, I'd say it was how I was raised. Despite it not being called the Dharma, we had a pretty clear foundation for Sila in the house I was raised. From there I stumbled into insight meditation pocketbook from a friend and it was all uphill from there.
    lobster
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited March 2014
    Please charge it to my head...not my heart. hahaha

    I can't and don't take part in every thread...so If this is
    the first time we ran into each other....I'm glad. :)
    I'll stay in touch from now on.....

    Edit...wait, your profile said you got here Jan 23.....I need way
    longer to get to know people...I'm getting old...haha
    That's still brand new .... lolololol
  • HAh! Dude, you've been here for only a month! If I've seen your comments before and not remembered you, my apologies.
  • Despite it not being called the Dharma, we had a pretty clear foundation for Sila in the house I was raised.
    :)
    In the UK on the whole Dharma is still exclusive. It excludes on the basis of income, behaviour, education and other stereotyping. Some self generated, some implied and some circumstantial. For example the dharma centres I visit in poorer areas are visited by people predominantly not living in those areas. I was recently at a dharma meeting where money generation to keep centres going in the West is still an issue. The Dharma costs rather than gives very often. Thus excluding those unable to support Sangha. So poor specimens are not welcome.
    Samsara rules.
    You may feel that you are a token/specimen but it is important that a distinct and inclusive voice is raised. That I feel is the value of the OP (original posters) intent. She has not excluded or marginalised me on the basis of ignorance.

    ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽/
  • What is wrong with "hippies" ? And why is "Hippies" always in " " ?
    IMO the hippies of the 60's and 70's did so much to raise the level of awareness about the hypocrisy of the "Establishment", especially among the young people of the US.
    VastmindDharmaMcBum
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    ^^^ True....
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    There you go @SpinyNorman. Told you someone would know. Thank you @Jayantha

    I wonder if tree-hugging is in the suttas? Probably should be! ;)
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