Do not rely on anything, We have created obstacles, traps, and racial minefields for young black men, and long demonized them as violent, criminal, stupid, lazy, and irresponsible. We take sides in a way that doesn’t separate. I think that there are ways to work within certain institutions, but it is glacial. You can begin dharma practice on your own—you can begin it anywhere, even right now sitting right there—but it’s very important to find other people you can practice with. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?” When Shakyamuni Buddha said, “My desire and my vow is to make all beings equal to me,” he was talking about the vow to make all beings equal in enlightenment. It was the first time I had a sense of control in my life.”. . Venerable Pannavati is cofounder of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Even “take sides” sounds from our Western perspective like I’m seeing only my side. Can I tell you how I really feel, but also maintain a sense of respect and humanity? Lama Rod Owens is a Buddhist minister, author, activist, yoga instructor and authorized Lama, or Buddhist teacher, in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism and is considered one of the leaders of his generation of Buddhist teachers. While I can … Most times, actually, I think of myself as being more an African American Buddhist. You definitely take sides. I was always told you just have to believe and when you believe you’ll figure it out. I’m honored to serve on the board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, which has a program called Build Block Be: build the good stuff, block the bad stuff, and be in alignment with your Buddhist values. A distinctively “American Buddhism” is in the process of emerging. It will be a more multi-sided, complex tradition here than virtually anywhere else on Earth, with immigrants from old Asian Buddhist cultures mixing with new Buddhists from Euro-American, African American, and Latino/a backgrounds. On the other hand, Buddhism teaches the principle of nonduality, which some Buddhist teachers say means that you shouldn’t take sides. It’s not like we ever finally arrive. So this is an old problem, one I’ve witnessed my entire life; and, like John Lewis, I’m old enough to remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s concern with the interplay between the personal and the political. Some people want to do a good thing, but they haven’t taken the route of discipline to subdue their own demons. It is a disease that infects all of us, especially in America, and if we don’t talk about it, we’ll never get rid of it. He takes the side of wisdom. This is a key text for understanding postmodern identity. . [Click here to expand text]. The opportunity for African American Buddhist Awakening rests on its wings. Ven. I had lived in fantasy all my life. That human revolution, that inner cleansing, made me see how much I was in charge. And by others, I mean all other sentient beings, whatever color their bodies are. Can I do that with sensitivity and care, while still saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done? But first: who are “we”? No one is free from the pandemic’s impact, including Lion’s Roar. Do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of scriptures, by logical reasoning, by inferential reasoning, by reflection on reason, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the seeming competence of a speaker, or because you think, “The ascetic is our teacher.” But when you know for yourselves, “These things are unwholesome, these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practiced, lead to harm and suffering,” then you should abandon them. 3 African Americans are more religious than whites and Latinos by many measures of religious commitment. Not surprisingly, in Buddhist communities, consciousness is often discussed alongside mindfulness. | An Excerpt from Taming the Ox. What does it mean to be Black and Buddhist? The first black teacher I met was me. Create your own pathways to change. Johnson won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1990, making him the second black American male writer to receive this prize. Black mothers have a higher infant mortality rate and black children are twice as likely as whites to live in a home where no parent has a job. I am sharing that gift with my body, with my mind, and with my heart. As the Buddha says in the Kālāma Sūtra. We rely significantly on advertising and newsstand sales to support our work — both of which have dropped precipitously this year. Concentrates on sources particularly influential in East Asian Buddhist traditions. In 2009, she received the Outstanding Woman in Buddhism award for her work on behalf of Buddhist nuns, specifically her co-founding in 1995 a nunnery that houses fifty Buddhist nuns ages forty-two to eighty-three in India. Question: I’m a liberation feminist theologian. Second, the understanding of anicca, or impermanence, contained in the Buddha’s observation that “whatever is subject to arising must also be subject to ceasing,” is the ontological starting point for Buddhist reflection on all things. The African and African American Proud Black Buddhist Website. Black America’s spiritual destiny is in the wind. After you reach ten thousand hours of practice you begin to let things be, and when you go over ten thousand hours of practice…yeah, now you’re smiling. Activism is not separate from who I am as a practicing Buddhist; it is inextricably connected. “You’re going to find freedom one day. Jan Willis, Lama Rangdröl, Mumford, Walker, the Zen teacher Angel Kyodo Williams, and the approximately fifteen thousand black practitioners of Soka Gakkai (Nichiren) Buddhism, who chant chapters of the Lotus Sutra, belong to the first black generation in America to recognize the relevance of the Dharma for the specific historical and existential forms of suffering that are the residue of slavery and racial segregation in a very Eurocentric country; and they believe this practice may satisfy John Lewis’s call for “a revolution of values . Clearly, Mr. Hancock does not have an image of himself based on his being in any way “inferior” or a “victim.” Those conceptualizations can poison the mind and the human spirit. The Dharma is the Light. The “sociological and historical forces” Ferguson refers to were also identified as the origin of this contemporary problem a few years ago by Adjoa Aiyetoro, then director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, who said, “One of the issues we deal with every day is the vestiges of our enslavement, and our post-enslavement in this country has been such that it has beat us down as a people in so many ways.” If there was an essence or eidos for black life during slavery and the seventy years of racial segregation that followed it, that invariant meaning would have to be craving, and the quest for identity and liberty. What is best for “we”? No matter what happened to me, I could choose my response to it. For Dr. Willis, like Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhism and Christianity, the religion historically associated with black Americans, are not in conflict. But Mumford discovered vipassana, a tool for analyzing and rebuilding his world at its source: the mind. And to these dire figures we must add the fact that nearly six hundred thousand blacks have the AIDS virus, with their rate of death two and a half times that of whites who have been infected. It gives us an opportunity to hold ourselves more accountable about some of the stuff we may not get to when we are in multiracial spaces. Last year, Rebecca informed me that she and Lama Rangdröl, whom she met at the first black American Buddhist retreat in 2002 at Spirit Rock in Woodacre, California, are now married. Practice involves what we do with our bodies and how we live in community. What I always think about is what’s going to cause the least amount of harm. . I’m very inspired by the work of some of the people and organizations I support. DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/XLVI.1.19 E-mail Citation » Konda Mason: We have a difficulty with paradoxes. The civil rights era, the "Black is beautiful" cultural movement urged mindful consumption of dominant media images, and the South African equivalent was called the Black Consciousness Movement. In his book, The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics, Robert Aitken Roshi said (p.17), "The absolute position, when isolated, omits human details completely. The Buddhist … Some of us are stepping forward and initiating things that we will never see the fruit of. He stated that “to be called African American has cultural integrity,” citing groups like Italian Americans and Arab Americans as examples. After the trial period, the fourteen-and fifteen-year-old boys were “found to have increased well-being, defined as the combination of feeling good (including positive emotions such as happiness, contentment, interest and affection) and functioning well.” The researcher behind this project, Professor Felicia Huppert, said, “We believe that the effects of mindfulness training can enhance well-being in a number of ways . Taking sides is a yes to love, rather than a no to you. Ralph Steele is the founder of Life Transition Therapy, a trauma-healing center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chimyo Atkinson received Dharma transmission under Rev. You may very well know us as the publishers of two Buddhist magazines, the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma. Do not be withholding, but instead generous. The second door is, Is it necessary? Get even more Buddhist wisdom delivered straight to your inbox! Like Tina Turner. Each conception of “I am,” “I was,” or “I will” is simultaneously a birth. Because cultural appropriation of Buddhism creates suffering for marginalized communities. If a few moments later one has foolish thoughts, right then one is born as a fool. First, because one’s happiness and salvation, awakening and liberation from suffering, rests entirely in one’s own hands (i.e., the karmic cause and effect relationship that so impressed Herbie Hancock). I really enjoyed Baptist church, but I did not understand the path to liberation. What does that mean? For students with special needs to retain ethnic identity among african american boys is consistent with the shortest path goes through are the familiar item, so. It’s hard to dive into the unique shapes in the black community when we’re not among other black practitioners and teachers. . (Beyonce Knowles last December gave her husband, Jay-Z, whose fortune is worth $450 million, the most expensive car in the world, a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport priced at $2 million; a month later Oprah Winfrey premiered her own network, appropriately named OWN; and Kanye West just spent $180,000 for a watch in his own image, which is only slightly less than the $250,000 that rapper Usher paid a New York luxury watch company to create a timepiece with his face on it.) Ruth King: Sometimes we have to intervene and sometimes we have to pass and care for ourselves. I believe young black males (and females) should begin the practice of meditation at the earliest age. . They wish to be free. Honoring elderhood is very important for me—understanding what it means to be invited to hold and carry a torch, understanding what that torch feels like when it’s passed hand to hand, heart to heart. The Buddhist practice is not passive. We are like a Black radio station where you can learn Buddhism with Soul. “Buddhist Hermeneutics.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 46.1 (1978): 19–39. by Carol Cooper. That’s something else. For Dr. Willis, like Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhism and Christianity, the religion historically associated with black Americans, are not in conflict. is impulse control. Black people are going to find freedom.” That was in my head my whole life: freedom and liberation. For me, it’s been a long, lonely journey. . Illustrates the buddhism and islam essay fundamental nature of psychological research. He takes the side of compassion. Buddhism, as a major world religion, is practiced in Africa.Though there have been some conversion amongst Africans, most of the Buddhists in Africa are of Asian, mostly Chinese, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan or Japanese descent.. South Africa holds the largest Buddhist population in the continent. During that interview, she asked him, “What led to your decision to bring the Dharma to African Americans?” He replied, “When I discovered that it was possible to avoid becoming ensnared in the mentality of an angry black man by applying Buddhism, I felt I had found a great treasure not just for me but also for resonance in millions of black people’s minds.”, Equally interesting is a 2003 interview in Tricycle with George Mumford, a sports psychologist who teaches vipassana meditation to the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, and who overcame years of drug and alcohol addiction. I understand the path to liberation as the buddhadharma. We’re not limited to our own liberation. When I discovered that it was possible to avoid becoming ensnared in the mentality of an angry black man by applying Buddhism, I felt I had found a great treasure not just for me but also for resonance in millions of black people’s minds. —His Holiness the Dalai Lama. . I think that “taking a stand” is an important and valuable alternative to “taking a side,” because taking a stand makes it clear that you want to see a specific positive change, like more truth, transparency, accountability, justice, equity, love, compassion, and discernment. Do not defame the Buddha, the Dharma, or the Sangha. It’s not just what we think. Lama Rod Owens: Representation is very important. https://www.lionsroar.com/power-heart-black-and-buddhist-in-america But I could also mention the political violence in our time, from the assassinations of King, Malcolm X, both Kennedys, and so many others in the 1960s to the recent shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing of six others, including a nine-year-old girl, in Arizona. And it is violence and anger more than anything else that we must “let go.” But we need clear, practical guidelines to do that. If dharma is going to be authentic through our bodies, we can’t sit in the location of not taking sides. I was raring to go and I never looked back. In college, black men represented just 5 percent of students in 2008. Ironically, and like no other religion or philosophy, the Dharma enables us to free ourselves even from itself. This is one of the beauties of the Buddhadharma. People can rub themselves against your stand and really learn from your stand, and it isn’t so easily misused. Owens is the co-founder of Bhumisparsha, a Buddhist tantric practice and study community. There, one third of the fifteen hundred inmates convicted of murder, sex offenses, and robbery are on death row or serving sentences of life without parole. You may never see it in your lifetime. Strength, love, and unity at the first-ever gathering of Buddhist teachers of black African descent. When I see you, I see me. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School and is a co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation. Because in jazz we share, we listen to each other, we respect each other, we are creating in the moment. It’s about our liberation. I would like to suggest a simple test for whatever you want to say before you say it. Sometimes we intervene at the individual level in our relationships. I mentioned slavery and segregation, two social arrangements that could only be maintained through systematic, institutional violence. Ruth King: For me, so much of Buddhist practice is about a deep understanding of our interdependence. Cultural change comes hard and takes a long time, but nothing short of profound cultural change is essential. For Mumford, who said his “ass was on fire,” this extinction of craving allowed him to tame Vivekananda’s conditioned and erratic “monkey mind,” and to understand through mindfulness the operations of his own consciousness—how we perpetually see through the veil of our ideas or Samsara, which Mumford called “fantasy.” Black American Buddhists understand that the reality we experience is our creation, and how we respond to it is our personal responsibility. He would say we need to accept nonviolence not simply as a technique or as a means to bring about social justice, but we need to make it a way of life, a way of living. In the 1990s, Robert A. F. Thurman estimated there were 5 to 6 million Buddhists in America. I’m tired of this mythology that black people don’t practice Buddhism. The Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple has been in a converted home in the Woodbridge neighborhood for close to two decades. That’s what we have to do. For me personally, I came up in my tradition with no idea that there were black people in Vajrayana Buddhism. A report published last November [2009] by the Council of the Great City Schools, entitled “A Call for Change,” states that “the nation’s young black males are in a state of crisis” and describes their condition as “a national catastrophe.” This report shows that. Rev. A distinctively “American Buddhism” is in the process of emerging. Gretchen Rohr: There’s an opening that occurs in spaces where we are within our own affinity groups. Originally published in 1978. There must be a rhythm of alteration between attacking the cause and healing the effects. Coming here to sit with other teachers who have some of the same experiences and background that I do is very precious and nurturing for me. But in a different, grim, and depressing portrait, 25 percent of black Americans live in poverty. It’s a crazy time right now, so what we do is important. Sometimes you have to take what you can get and make your connections there. It’s going to take some effort. For me, activism means manifesting these beautiful teachings that I have been given. guāng míng; Jpn.kōmyō; Kor. Myokei Caine-Barrett is the head priest and guiding teacher of the Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Texas in Houston. In their honesty, they admit that being nonjudgmental, as Hancock said of his practice, is extremely difficult in our society—a society that so often portrays the angry person as a powerful person, and finding fault as a proper intellectual activity that demonstrates our critical acumen, shows our intellectual superiority and, by virtue of that, feeds our egos. Mumford reports, “I learned that I could control my mind. Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin: Many of us find ourselves in spaces where we’re not allowed to talk about the suffering of racism. The inmates at this facility were the subject of a 2007 documentary called The Dhamma Brothers, and what they have done has become a model for other prisons. S. C will it create, li. From Buddhism to Baha'i: Black Faith Spreads Across All Religions Most African-Americans have historically embraced Christianity as their religion. They are millionaires, even billionaires, having earned their wealth in business, sports, and entertainment. prabhāsvaratā; Tib.’od gsal ba; Ch. Some Asian scholars and Buddhists resent the focus on convert Buddhism in the United States. From Buddhism to Baha'i: Black Faith Spreads Across All Religions Most African-Americans have historically embraced Christianity as their religion. If hatred is what’s motivating and propelling me, I’m not able to fight the good fight. Gwendolyn Brooks said, “We are each other’s harvest. A participant in the 2017-2021 IMS Teacher Training Program, Jozen highlights all of his teachers especially his mother, Akimi, and root Dharma teacher, Pamela Weiss. What is it about Buddhism that drew you to it? In this vision, the “self” we struggle so hard and long to bolster and sustain is discovered to be a construct at best. Our sincere wish is that these Buddhist teachings, guided practices, and stories can be a balm in these difficult times. But I also recognize that the insidious stream of this disease plagues us even there. Coming together allows us to talk about it, to share our wounds, to heal each other, and to acknowledge the pain and the loss we all suffer when we are separated. She is the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace, and co-author, with Lama Rod Owens and Jasmine Syedullah Ph.D., of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation. Rely on the Dharma. Liberation is impossible if we’re disconnected from others. Luminosity (Skt. A few moments later those thoughts disappear, one thinks like a normal human being again and is born as a human being. These issues are matters that I’ve spent a lifetime thinking about, but for me this is not merely an academic discussion. The historical and present-day suffering experienced by black Americans creates a natural doorway into the Dharma. And in his sermon “Rediscovering Lost Values,” delivered on February 28, 1954, at Detroit’s Second Baptist Church, King railed against “relativistic ethics,” “pragmatism” applied to questions of right and wrong, and the “prevailing attitude in our culture,” which he described as “survival of the slickest.” King knew that we have a “culture” for young black males that catches them up in gangs, despair, fatherlessness, drugs, prison, anti-intellectualism, and antisocial behavior by the time they are eight years old. In Order to address those, we can ’ t necessarily expect that you ’ be. 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