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The topic tonight is to recognize the contributions of Asian American Buddhists and address the racism and cultural appropriation that marginalizes their ongoing role in transmitting the dharma in the West.
In order to more fully understand this topic, please take a look at the following article and especially, the letter to the editor that was written in response to an article in Tricycle Magazine.
“To be clear, Buddhism belongs to all sentient beings. Even so, Asians and Asian American Buddhists have a rightful, distinct historical claim to Buddhism. It has been rooted in our cultures for thousands of years. When it is said that Buddhism has been practiced for over 2,500 years, it is important to consider who has been persistently maintaining the practice for millennia: Asians, and more recently, Asian Americans. It is because of our physical, emotional, and spiritual labor, our diligent cultivation of the practice through time and through histories of oppression, that Buddhism has persisted to the current time period and can be shared with non-Asian practitioners. This is a historical fact.”
1. What comes up for me when I read this?
2. How can I be more awake to the harm that I may be causing in regard to this issue?
“Everyone can benefit from reflecting on cultural appropriation as a way to deepen our Buddhist practice. We can do this by using the five precepts as a guide”
3. Is there a personal experience that I have had that relates to something that’s expressed in these writings? (If you are comfortable, please share with the group)