Starting from where we are

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Starting from where we are

Postby imagemarie » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:34 pm

Hi :namaste:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/1 ... 44559.html

When I was involved in socialist politics many years ago, some of us thought that the need to establish a black caucus, or an ethnic minority only group, unnecessary. Devisive. Irrelevent to the cause.
Likewise, a feminist splinter group. We had a common goal after all and our shared humanity.

And this would have been my initial reaction to a "people of color sangha"

But I think Mr Smith may be serving a need here. And it is a pretty brave attempt, given the "Buddhist" brickbats which will surely befall him.

What do you think?

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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:46 am

The Dhamma is beyond all this race and nationality segregation. The Buddha spoke out against caste as having any special privileges and advocated for the spreading of Dhamma to the rest of the world. The Buddha was one of the first known teachers to not teach just to one specific tribe or nationality of people. Jehovah taught to the Hebrew people and was called the "God of Israel" (not other nations?). Jesus and Christianity are often considered more universal, but in the Book of Revelations we see that only 144,000 make it to the Kingdom of Heaven; with only 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes making it there (so apparently you have to be Christian of Jewish ethnicity? Perhaps only the "Jews for Jesus" group makes it?).

It's a difficult and touchy issue, so I can see why no one has responded yet. Either way you answer someone might call you a "racist." If you say that there shouldn't be groups for "people of color" then someone might call you a racist. If you say there should be such groups, then you might be accused of being racist; by engaging in reverse racism (from the historical direction); in this case not allowing whites to attend.

If they don't allow whites to attend, where do they draw the line? How about half-white, half-black people like my kids? If that is allowed, how about someone who is only quarter-black? How about one-eighth? If yes, why? If not allowed, why not?

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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby Yana » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:03 am

I just realized there's not a lot of black buddhist meditators,i live in Australia ..well i don't know i'll have to join a group and find out :tongue: maybe i'll be the only one ahaha...doesn't matter..am used to being the only black person.. like whatever..:smile:
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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby imagemarie » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:19 am

The Dharma is beyond all this race and nationality segregation

Yes. And...
Get people in the door, let them address their hurts in a supportive environment, then hit them with the absolutes. :tongue: It seems to me that this policy is about addressing barriers, (colour, class, privilege) whether they exist, are ill-percieved, or whatever other papanca you like. It is starting from where people are. And, I think, based upon metta and karuna and inclusivity. The intention is a noble one. We (the Dhamma), is here for you too.

If they don't allow whites to attend, where do they draw the line? How about half-white, half-black people like my kids? If that is allowed, how about someone who is only quarter-black? How about one-eighth? If yes, why? If not allowed, why not?

I'm sorry, but this seems to me to be a bit of a disingenuous argument . "What if" reasoning..

It's a difficult and touchy issue


Then I appreciate your response. Thank-you.

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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby Kusala » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:31 am

"Just as, O monks, the great rivers Gangâ, Yamunâ, Aciravati, Sarabhû, and Mahi, on reaching the ocean, lose their earlier name and identity and come to be reckoned as the great ocean, similarly, O monks, people of the four castes (vannas).... who leave the household and become homeless recluses under the Doctrine and Discipline declared by the Tathâgata, lose their previous names and identities and are reckoned as recluses who are sons of Sâkya" (Udâna 55).

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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:29 pm

imagemarie wrote:"What if" reasoning..


Not really "what if" at all. I don't know what country / area you are from but where I live it is very ethnically, racially diverse. There are numerous, bi-racial, multi-racial people here in my city / region. It is not uncommon to find people who are a mix of Hispanic, Black, White, Asian, etc.

imagemarie wrote:Get people in the door, let them address their hurts in a supportive environment, then hit them with the absolutes. :tongue: It seems to me that this policy is about addressing barriers, (colour, class, privilege) whether they exist, are ill-percieved, or whatever other papanca you like. It is starting from where people are. And, I think, based upon metta and karuna and inclusivity. The intention is a noble one. We (the Dhamma), is here for you too.


If it gets more people in the doors, I'm all in favor of that, but in general I am not a fan of apartheid.

Addressing barriers is good but there are many people of color who are upper class and privileged. Oprah WInfrey is a billionaire. My son had an African-American friend in high school who had very wealthy parents. His friend was chauffeured to school everyday in a limo. Of course, I know these examples are not as common among some minority groups, but it is not all black-and-white in regard to class and privilege.

Yana wrote:I just realized there's not a lot of black buddhist meditators,i live in Australia ..well i don't know i'll have to join a group and find out :tongue: maybe i'll be the only one ahaha...doesn't matter..am used to being the only black person.. like whatever..:smile:


:thumbsup: Once my wife and I were shopping in a large department store in central Los Angeles. After shopping around for several minutes my wife mentioned to me, "I just realized that everyone in this store, customers and employees is either Asian, Black, or Hispanic; and you are the only White guy here." I looked around and said, "you're right, I didn't even notice." It is nice to live in areas where everyone is treated as a human being and judged only by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby Raksha » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:11 pm

A monk told me that he thought Africans would take to Buddhism more readily than Europeans because their simple, heartfelt spirituality was easier to work with than the over intellectual nonsense of most Europeans.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoMtnai4dBs
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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby imagemarie » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:47 pm

http://www.seattle.gov/womenscommission ... overty.pdf

I think that in most big cities, class and race will be inextricably linked. (But, of course,there will always be exceptions to pull out of the hat).
The term "apartheid" is negative and politically loaded. I see this as more a case of positive discrimination. And hopefully, the liberal, wealthy, white Buddhists of Seattle, will also see it that way.



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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:53 pm

Greetings,

David N. Snyder wrote:It's a difficult and touchy issue, so I can see why no one has responded yet. Either way you answer someone might call you a "racist." If you say that there shouldn't be groups for "people of color" then someone might call you a racist. If you say there should be such groups, then you might be accused of being racist; by engaging in reverse racism (from the historical direction); in this case not allowing whites to attend.

If they don't allow whites to attend, where do they draw the line? How about half-white, half-black people like my kids? If that is allowed, how about someone who is only quarter-black? How about one-eighth? If yes, why? If not allowed, why not?

Yep. I'm not touching this one with a bargepole, lest I be on the end of a barrage from someone attached to a particular view. No good comes out of that.

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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby nem » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:28 am

Maybe people should read plenty of suttas before they start to meditate, to have a sense of what it is that they are pursuing. To have a group that focuses on sense and form of race from the start, would certainly be a big hindrance. Maybe they just like an extra challenge but seems clearly wrong view, judging from the explanation in the MN sutta on Right View.

In the Bhudda's time, she would definitely get the summons to go be straightened out by the Blessed One. MN suttas explain some pretty bad effects that happen to people who split the sangha, extremely unfortunate rebirth. Many times, he's calling monks in to set them straight on these things.

I've been listening to some of the questions in the talks from Rodney at Seattle Insight. Clearly, some of the people are there from a secular perspective, for stress relaxation, psychological easing, etc, things like that. So maybe they have different practice than people who are Bhuddist from a spiritual perspective. From this perspective it's about progression toward nibbana, and not about this stuff. If anything, being around people of a different race or culture is often a chance to learn something new and useful on the path. Correct? I am white and born in USA, most of the folks in my local center are Sri Lankan immigrants and I'm thinking of starting to attend there . I take a fairly literal reading of the Pali Canon without any Asian cultural background, so some of the customs and rituals practiced there in my local center seem to clearly be attachment to senses and rules, just what the Bhudda spoke against innumerable times. But I'd rather practice with people who make flower offerings to the Bhudda statue, than in some of the Westernized groups with people who are worried about really mundane things like race, stress reduction, etc. Better to stay at home with the Tipitaka and zafu, than to jump in that mess!
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Re: Starting from where we are

Postby imagemarie » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:52 pm

Clearly, some of the people are there from a secular perspective, for stress relaxation, psychological easing, etc, things like that.


"Secular" as in human?

So maybe they have different practice than people who are Bhuddist from a spiritual perspective.


Really ? :thinking:

But I'd rather practice with people who make flower offerings to the Bhudda statue, than in some of the Westernized groups with people who are worried about really mundane things like race, stress reduction, etc.


Mundane things like suffering and the causes of suffering?

Better to stay at home with the Tipitaka and zafu, than to jump in that mess!


Yes. People are messy, pathetic creatures :clap:

retrofuturist wrote: I'm not touching this one with a bargepole


Me neither :toilet:

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