Link to the Full Article.Most people who have spent time in American Buddhist communities would read my title as sarcastic. As numerous writers have noted, many Buddhist sanghas in the United States are largely white. Practicing in these spaces is often an isolating experience where people of color feel erased and invisible, or at times so hypervisible that simply being in the room invites the assumption that they will educate others about race.
J. Sunara Sasser really hits the nail on the head here.
At the start of my Buddhist journey, social anxiety, travel issues, and this were some of the reasons why I didn’t rush out to find a teacher—as I was often pressured to do. Today, the social anxiety is mostly under control, and travel is less problematic, but I still prefer practicing alone, or with people I’ve already built relationships with.
It’s possible that I could be less apprehensive about physically going to more Buddhist communities if I knew that there’d be a variety of people there. Apparently, J. Sunara Sasser had a good experience at Soka Gakkai International in Chicago, which, surprisingly, is close to where I live.
Are you comfortable with visiting Buddhist communities, or practicing in public?