Too often, as a result, our churches are safe spaces for people like John T. Earnest. Stemming in part from Orientalist racial projects, vestiges of white supremacy ideology can still be detected today in the controversy surrounding who represents "American Buddhism" and the smorgasbord of approaches in Buddhist practices that are taken for granted in many meditation centers, hospitals, and other institutions. But as you move away from the hurt into the tension that arises, it’s how we’re channeling that anger. But at the end of the day, your allyship isn’t the work that’s required to undo whiteness. We don't need to submerge them or swat them away. You can do it. White people doing that work are the white people that I trust the most. And you can sit with it. Can you tell the story of how Buddhism turned out to be the way [for you] to be an activist? [30] [31] Politicians and world leaders condemned it, [32] and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as "one of New Zealand's darkest days". People are frustrated. bell hooks: Buddhism, the Beats and Loving Blackness By George Yancy and Bell Hooks. His new book is "Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger.". It's not simply that Christians should rule as God's chosen people, but that White Christians should rule. Cheah investigates the effects of white supremacy on both convert Buddhists and Burmese ethnic Buddhists, comparing how both groups have adapted Buddhist practices to an American context. Abstract. The following month, after nine people were gunned down while praying in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, Buddhists for Racial Justice (BRJ) was formed, a national network of Buddhist practitioners and communities. When I experience anger or rage, for me it’s a sign that I’m hurt and I’m hurting, and there’s a tension there. Buddhism and Whiteness, edited by George Yancy and Emily McRae, works to answer these questions and others through a critical inquiry into the habits of whiteness or white culture—a culture that refuses to be called a culture. A Game-Changing ADHD Treatment, The 4 Functions of Rhythm in Expressive Arts Therapy, Study Shows Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy Four Times More Effective For Major Depression, 'Lit therapy' in the classroom: Writing about trauma can be valuable, if done right, Thanksgiving 2020: Giving Thanks When You’re Not Feeling It, Is Learning on Zoom the Same as In Person? Get a selection of the Messenger's best reporting direct to your inbox each and every morning. A: For me love is an expression of acceptance. Q: The anger of people marching for Black Lives Matter is one thing. People are hurt. Lama Rod Owens, 40, is a Buddhist teacher and activist. Ethics means this is what is conducive to liberation, or another way of putting that is, this is what’s conducive to the reduction of violence. All those horrifying little thoughts that white people might have - eg: Have you ever felt superior to, or suspicious of, black people? Ethics means this is what is conducive to liberation, or another way of putting that is, this is what’s conducive to the reduction of violence. For me, we have to bring ethics back into secular mindfulness. The prevalence of white supremacy among most Christian Nationalists is unknown but probably small; with Christian Identity, however, it is typically a fundamental belief. For me, we have to bring ethics back into secular mindfulness. A: Anger and rage are actually trying to point us to the trauma and the brokenheartedness. Sign up with your email to receive news and updates. Like, yes, social activism — but also spiritual activism. White supremacy can seem like a dramatic term, conjuring images of the KKK or Nazi Germany. Buddhist mindfulness is about liberation through cultivating awareness and ethics. There is a similarity, which is hurt. Its purpose is the maintenance and defense of a system of wealth, power, and privilege. But of course it’s difficult to do it. Facilitated by: Paravrtti Doralee Grindler Katonah, Valley Streams Zen Sangha. The Truth Awakened To. A: To sit with all the manifestations of white supremacy, the manifestation of white supremacy from our ancestors, the disappointment of being born into the system that disproportionately disadvantages brown and black people, to sit with the totality of everything. By David MontgomeryJuly 21, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. CDT. White supremacy refers to the racialized perceptions that govern how we classify people and respond to them. When people are out in the street marching, it doesn’t matter what it’s for. In this way "white supremacy operates in the United States as an invisible standard of normality for many white Buddhists and sympathizers" (4). Top. I think we have to have the conversation to get into the hurt itself. People are hurt. People remain perfectly comfortable holding and acting out white supremacist views while attending our churches. There are people marching for black lives and against police brutality. In part, this longing emerges from the reluctance of white people in power to accept, and see clearly by opening their eyes, that white supremacy informs the shaping of Buddhist communities, individual interactions, publications, etc. This chapter traces the legacy of white supremacy in American Buddhism to “racial projects” conceived and implemented by Western Orientalists in the middle and late Victorian era. All rights reserved. We’re just hurt. ... George Yancy: Over the years you have used the expression “imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” to describe the power structure underlying the social order. A: I think that it’s so important to be an ally, to show up. Without the pain, without getting close to your pain, it’s not going to be changed. In Buddhism I saw that there’s an ultimate liberation that comes with a mental liberation. We can work socially for liberation, but there’s a different work that’s required for mental liberation. On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist named Wade Michael Page walked into a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin and turned a gun on the congregation. You have permission to edit this article. A: We can work socially for liberation, but there’s a different work that’s required for mental liberation. A Buddhist Teacher’s Meditations on Confronting White Supremacy. We’re just hurt. Buddhist mindfulness is about liberation through cultivating awareness and ethics. So the woundedness, the trauma, is actually disrupting the foundation of that identity, and then actually having to sit with the intensity of trying to figure out who you are now, after this identity location of whiteness has been disrupted. I see some similarities with the folks, earlier on in the pandemic, white folks who were going out, you know, demonstrating to open up everything. And we’re trying to draw people close, back to their pain, because that proximity is actually going to be the thing that disrupts them, to disrupt their participation in how systems are maintained by not being in a relationship to the suffering. When I’m working with white folks, it’s helping to support white folks in actually connecting to the trauma of whiteness and what whiteness has meant, whiteness as a system that has to be maintained because that’s where identity location has been planted. Michaelis was now a Buddhist leading a clean, steady lifestyle. I relate this back to everything that’s going on right now. As white Southern activist Anne Braden said (memorialized by the FloBots), “You do have a choice. Why tie those terms together as opposed to stressing any one of them in isolation? A: To sit with all the manifestations of white supremacy, the manifestation of white supremacy from our ancestors, the disappointment of being born into the system that disproportionately disadvantages brown and black people, to sit with the totality of everything. There was an error processing your request. Q: Why is it essential to love our anger? You can do it. When I experience anger or rage, for me it’s a sign that I’m hurt and I’m hurting, and there’s a tension there. But a more accurate and total picture includes forms that may seem subtle — especially to white people. Q: You speak about how it’s time to create a movement, and that black and brown people are in a unique position to understand what suffering is, and that’s why they have the duty (to lead the movement). You don’t have to be a part of the world of the lynchers. In college, I was obsessed with white Buddhism in a wrathful sort of way. Such a book-length study as this stands to transform the discourse on American Buddhism and Asian … The tension between being hurt and wanting to take care of myself, that tension is what anger and rage really are. © 2020 Trauma Research Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit. What do you make of where they’re coming from? His new book is "Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger." Not to Your Brain, Therapist: Trauma Is An Experience Of The Body. His new book is Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger. A: Mindfulness, as it’s taught in the mainstream, will not be enough to undo trauma, racism and so forth. You can do it. At least in America, I would not call Ashkenazim "white" exactly. And when I can accept it, I can get close to it and began to take care of it. There is a similarity, which is hurt. In Buddhism I saw that there’s an ultimate liberation that comes with a mental liberation. But h… Colonial Legacy of White Supremacy in American Buddhism - Oxford Scholarship. But the people who hurt us, they’re the furthest away from their pain. Success! White supremacy has roots in the now-discredited doctrine of scientific racism, and was a key justification for colonialism. While academic and popular studies of Buddhism have often neglected race as a factor of analysis, the issues concerning race and racialization have remained not far below the surface of the wider discussion among ethnic Buddhists, converts, and sympathizers regarding representations of American Buddhism and adaptations of Buddhist practices to the American context. There is never enough proof. The ultimate liberation was an extension of the mental liberation that we cultivated through meditation. And so once I started learning and having experiences in ultimate liberation, I then began to bridge the social liberation work together with the ultimate liberation. An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup. I think a good example is whiteness, white supremacy. Anger and rage are actually trying to point us to the trauma and the brokenheartedness. I see some similarities with the folks, earlier on in the pandemic, white folks who were going out, you know, demonstrating to open up everything. By David MontgomeryJuly 21, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. CDT, Lama Rod Owens, 40, is a Buddhist teacher and activist. Even if it is a struggle, even if it’s hard to stay with the pain, you’re still doing it, and that for me is really encouraging to see. There are people marching for black lives and against police brutality. The primary difference is the explicit focus on race. I relate this back to everything that’s going on right now. I see white supremacy as trauma. This study group is offered by Bamboo in the Wind Zen Sangha for people who want to learn about the history of racism and its continuation in the form of systemic racism and the ideology of white supremacy. Error! This is what is conducive to actually beginning to undo systematic white supremacy. [33] Buddhist mindfulness is about liberation through cultivating awareness and ethics. A: When you’re close to your suffering you’re close to your humanity, and when you’re close to your humanity you become a mirror that reflects other people’s humanity back to them. The particularly local problem—the historical institutionalized racism and white supremacy within American Buddhist centers—is given a timeless quality when placed within the framework of the Buddha’s life. Most of the white Buddhists I talk to are grateful for opportunities to talk and to learn about racism and white supremacy. That’s going to keep us empathetic to others. What are you actually doing in channeling the energy of this anger, and is that channeling of the energy actually helping you to somehow take care of the hurt? In the Buddhist community, there is an outpour of support for Black Lives Matter (BLM) by practicing Buddhists. You’re working for freedom on both fronts. And that experience will slowly begin to divest you from the ways in which you’ve been trained and taught to participate in the system. And We're All Feeling It, A Comprehensive Overview on Stress Neurobiology: Basic Concepts and Clinical Implications, In Memory of Rich Simon by Psychotherapy Network. You’re working for freedom on both fronts. But of course it’s difficult to do it. The attack was linked to an increase in white supremacy and alt-right extremism globally observed since about 2015. White supremacy or White supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other races and thus should dominate them. 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