By continuing, you agree to Tricycle’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. The project 'Buddhism and Social Justice' explores the inner tensions in Buddhist cultures between inherited core values and social realities, with specific foci on questions of labor (e.g., slavery and forced labor, serfdom) and social status (e.g., caste and discrimination). To develop mindfulness of the body, one needs to contemplate one’s breath, bodily postures, activities, and anatomical parts, as well as one’s imagined corpse—the body after death. Buddhism and Sexism. They share similar causes of discrimination and both seek reform to change their distorted or unrecognized identities. The fourth largest religion in the world, Buddhism is largely built on concepts that foster individual enlightenmen… A meditation on mindfulness of the body brings to light the painful racialized experiences of many practitioners of color—a reality that white communities often fail to take into account. It was clear to me that any consideration of the weight of racial experience as it pertains to skin color had been totally overlooked—and in a class meant to deepen our understanding of diversity through the dharma, at that! Subscribe for access to video teachings, monthly films, e-books, and our 29-year archive. Influential Thai Buddhist monk says ‘LGBT people are humans’ and welcomes civil partnership bill. Distressing as it is, my personal racial awakening appears to be well-timed. Mahayana Buddhists believe that everyone should be treated equally because we all have 'Buddha Nature', ie the ability to become enlightened. Skin color can be variable: blackish, brownish, yellowish, reddish, whitish. As one of the fastest growing faith traditions in the United States, Buddhist communities have been struggling with addressing the pain and harms of racism in our communities. For wrong views, as the embodiment of mental attachment, is as bad as, if not worse, than attachments to objects of the senses is the cause of a negative rebirth. My nonchalant and cheerful observation to my closest (white) friend in graduate school that “sometimes I forget I’m not white.”. Thus, by both the teachings and the communities who impart those teachings, I am left unmoored. My being in the room cannot and does not simply signify my desire to learn and hold space together. I was straining to grasp and contain this influx of emotion. By Atia Sattar, Illustration by Loveis Wise Fall 2018 Skin color can be variable: blackish, brownish, yellowish, reddish, whitish. This means an equal attitude towards everyone. Throughout history, people have accused religion of being a force behind prejudice and discrimination. Instead, I’ve continued to encounter people’s preference for “race blindness.” And nowhere does it feel more hurtful than in well-intentioned white sanghas presently striving for diversity and inclusion. That day, as I sat listening to the guided meditation on the 32 parts of the body, my anguish was compounded still further by the fact that after the directive to contemplate the skin, the recording had nothing more to offer on the subject of skin color. Thich Nhat Hahn Suddenly, contemplating my skin as a separate entity for the first time, I was struck by intense pain and aversion. What does Buddhism say about prejudice and discrimination? I was livid, like a wronged child, and overcome by a wave of emotions—shame and rage, but mostly pain—along with a barrage of recollections: Vandalized college election posters, the brown faces of my sister and me crossed out while those of our white friends who were also running for student government remained untouched. In my journey to be mindful and to clearly know my bodily experience, I am continuously confronted with my racialization, and the Buddhist teachings have left me thoroughly confused about how to deal with that. “There’s a disproportionate amount of influence for the number of Buddhists in the country,” says Christopher Queen, lecturer on world religions at Harvard University. And I do so always at the expense of myself, revealing past wounds that I must then attend to later and on my own. Instead, I am simply able to relax without judging myself or assuming and experiencing the judgment of others. But mindfulness, when it’s fully developed, includes an element of wise discrimination. As per first view, it is a geographical term and all people living on Indian subcontinent are Hindus. In Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), one of the country’s poorest regions, indigenous Buddhists have become the latest victim of religious discrimination. Buddhists teach that prejudice is an example of ignorance. For instance, when I am told my presence is gladdening in a predominantly white sangha, I feel a weight placed on my shoulders. It does not take long to realize that such a mode of teaching aims to instruct white students only. I sense in my bones the true meaning and value of sangha. I passed through all of these reflections with little disturbance; then I came to my skin. Joseph Goldstein. Feeling safe and held, I have finally been able to ask myself what my authentic voice could even be. Read more about Discrimination and Exclusion. On the East Coast, interest in Buddhism rose in the 1870s through the influence of prominent figures like Henry David Thoreau and H.P. There is gender inequality in most of the world's religions, of course, but that's no excuse. . I find myself questioning whether my progress toward enlightenment is being crippled by my inability to “decondition [my] strong identification with the body and the suffering that results.” I find myself hoping that one day, I will finally be “over” the color of my skin—that being brown will no longer get in my way. Please check your email to confirm your subscription. The recent disrobing of Venerable Sermsak Thammasaro or “Monk Ti” for his dwarfism has spurred discussion about Thai Buddhism and discrimination. Furthermore, believing that we are in some way superior to those around us is an example of craving or of fear. The direction is found both above and below the waist; it’s located all over the body from face to feet to fingers, bordered by head hair, body hair, nails, and teeth. A meditation on mindfulness of the body brings to light the painful racialized experiences of many practitioners of color—a reality that white communities often fail to take into account. In recent years, Bangladesh has witnessed an alarming increase in religious discrimination against the Buddhist community. It’s like a big bag of grain that takes the shape of what’s inside. As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available. Kanti Sarvaiya left his Hindu heritage behind and became a Buddhist.“Hinduism has done nothing for us,” said Sarvaiya, 20, who lives in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Religious discrimination applies to organized religions such as Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, as well as other religions. Over the last several years, numerous writings have been published on the place of race in the Western dharma, particularly in the fraught historical, political, and cultural context of the United States. Instead, I am perceived as a representative and ambassador for people of color, with my words serving as lessons on how people of color think and feel. Buddhists try to ensure that everyone is treated as such in society. Although some practitioners have been asking for more ethnic and cultural diverse body of teachers, the vast majority of Buddhist teachers who … Buddhists believe that everyone should be treated equally because we all have '. Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! The violent jettison of my accent so that I could convince others, as quickly as possible, that I had assimilated into American culture—that I was no threat to  them. LAS VEGAS(KLAS) — A Buddhist group is considering a religious discriminationlawsuit in the aftermath of a judge’s ruling that approved the $22 million sale of the Las VegasMonorail to the Las VegasConvention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). Persecution may refer to unwarranted arrest, imprisonment, beating, torture, or execution.It also may refer to the confiscation or destruction of property, or the incitement of hatred towards Buddhists.. Some Buddhists choose to wear yellow or white to represent the ‘Middle Way’, and yellow is also the colour of Buddha’s robes. For Buddhists, the caste system is an example of, and is something that they do not support. Buddhism and Social Discrimination By Rev. Tackling gender and sexual discrimination in Buddhism. As Venerable Analayo writes in his seminal text Satipatthana The Direct Path to Realization, “A detached observation of the various parts of the body leads to the understanding that they are all of equal nature. Burakumin and women in Buddhism are both seen as inferior, invisible groups burdened by history’s social discrimination and patriarchal attitude. With Stephen Batchelor, Sharon Salzberg, Andrew Olendzki, and more. Buddhists believe that ignorance and craving cause people to suffer – known as dukkha. And why had I not been prepared for the upheaval it could and did cause? The recorded meditation I was listening to at home asked us to contemplate the head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, and skin. Although small pockets of influence remained, the Buddhist presence in India became negligible. East Coast Buddhists. Monks are advised to sleep indoors, not outdoors, after an incident where women had sex with a monk while he, apparently, was sleeping under a tree. Related: The Buddha’s Original Teachings on Mindfulness. Buddhists believe that there is no fundamental difference between any human. In these moments, I easily fall into my professional role as a university educator, wanting to ease the sangha into an understanding of racial suffering. Read about our approach to external linking. Help us share Buddhist teachings and practices by donating now. “So our family elders have decided to convert.”In July, upper-caste men publicly flogged a group of Dalits—formerly considered … LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Buddhist group is considering a religious discrimination lawsuit in the aftermath of a judge’s ruling that approved the $22 million sale of the Las Vegas Monorail to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). But the wisdom in my bones says that we need this particular body, with its unique color, shape, and sex, for liberation to unfold. . This means an equal attitude towards everyone. Scholars do not know all the factors that contributed to Buddhism… In one of the early teachings of the Buddhist … There is no clear-cut definition of who Hindus are and majorly there are two views. Here are some of mine: my conscious renunciation of Pakistani culture and religion as a means of coping with the events of September 11, which took place barely two months after I immigrated with my family to the United States at the age of 17. Though brown embodiment has often manifested as a site of racialized suffering, it also paradoxically creates a sense of communal identity and camaraderie with other people of color, which I have grown to value. I would have to discover who I was beneath all that self-hatred. Accompanying mindfulness is a sense of whether a particular experience we are having is one that we want to put more energy into, or one we want to stand back from and allow to fade away. I have sat through several discussions on race, even in courses meant to take up such inquiries, where it seems the teachers’ only goals are to provoke “thought” about racial issues. Though it is impossible to present a comprehensive overview of Buddhism within this context, we hope this brief overview will lead you to further explore the religion. Based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, Buddhism is considered a way of life for more than 500 million individuals across the globe. Unfortunately, my racialized experiences do not in themselves amount to expert knowledge and training ability in practices of inclusivity and transformative action. And most recently, the thick air of discomfort filling rooms of white, liberal, educated “allies”—at my workplace and in Buddhist practice spaces—when I articulate the pervasive suffering surrounding race. Ken Yamada Buddhism often is viewed as a solitary path focused on one’s own spiritual enlightenment, rather than as a means for social change. How could that be all there was to say about such a complex issue? Monks who do not wake up, or do not yield t… Buddhists experience ‘blatant discrimination’ at Mulliken board meeting ‘Comparing apples to oranges’. The village of Mulliken is a majority white … Design by Point Five. In that moment, I was doubly wounded—but perhaps not surprised. A conversation with a young girl on an airplane post–9/11 that began with the query “What race are you?” and ended with “No offense to you, but I hope all Pakistani people die.”. We’re sorry, there was an error. Yet, despite the religion’s global appeal, the role of women in Buddhism has been a subject of public debate. Discover what 24,741 subscribers have access to, Full access to 29 years of content with over 7,775 articles. Meanwhile, the meditation moved on. . Once one clearly apprehends their true nature, it becomes evident that there is nothing inherently beautiful in any particular aspect of the body. It did not feel like transcendence. A sense of bewilderment is often apparent when news of violence appears with regard to Sri Lanka and Burma. I now understand what it means to hold space together while being held. It does not matter about our culture, race or background. However, the two groups differ in approaches to reform. Recently, I have found a Buddhist community and a teacher of color who offer a refuge in which I can experience and process the discovery of these truths. Most important for Buddhist metaphysics is the prevalence of wrong views in relation to the Rohingya and the discrimination displayed. . There are more rules for nuns (bhikkunis) than monks (bhikkus), 331 as against 227, because while everyone has to control their desires, women have the additional burden of not “arousing the desires of men.” 2. Consider this: 1. For Buddhists, the caste system is an example of discrimination and is something that they do not support. The Dalai Lama Take an online Buddhism course at your own pace. The same contemplation is then to be applied ‘externally’ to the bodies of others.” Joseph Goldstein, in his series of dharma talks on the Satipatthana Sutta, says, “These are powerful meditations that begin to decondition our strong identification with the body and the suffering that results from that identification.”, But I find no guidance concerning how to navigate the challenges that arise in the process of discovering the racialized body and the painful secrets it unveils, of which there are so many. Even as one’s mindfulness develops to incorporate and comprehend other key facets of human experience—feelings, the mind, and mental objects—the body remains the locus of self-realization. Gender equality in Buddhism has been a topic of much scholarship in the last thirty years. Sign in, choose your GCSE subjects and see content that's tailored for you. Another lawsuit previously filed by the World Buddhism … Buddhists view prejudice as an example of ignorance and superiority as an example of craving. Many Buddhists have experienced persecution from non-Buddhists and other Buddhists during the history of Buddhism. As early as 1953 rumoured allegations had surfaced of discrimination against Buddhists in Vietnam. Pema Chödrön The Eight Garudhammas and other unequal gender-based Buddhist rules and teachings that disparage women have long raised serious doubts among Buddhist scholars and practitioners. Bangladesh has witnessed an alarming increase in religious discrimination against the Buddhist community among. Australian and American media armed by the world Buddhism … Throughout history, people accused... Buddhist analyse of social discrimination can be variable: blackish, brownish, yellowish, reddish, whitish a. Buddhist the idea is dismissed that the path to freedom from suffering begins the... 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