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Dharma, Color, and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhismby Hilda Gut Baldoquin
Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking anthology by Buddhists of Color on ending suffering. Cover and seven original drawings by Mayumi Oda.
"Baldoqun, a Soto Zen priest, amasses a collection of writings by 'people of color,' primarily American writers of African, Asian, Latino and Native American heritages, who share their experiences with and perspectives on traditional Buddhist teachings. Each of the book's first four sections devote several essays to one of the Four Noble Truths, and a final section explores how some of the writers have 'integrated' the teachings 'into the realities of their lives.' The writers engage the issue of color vis--vis Buddhist teachings in different ways and to varying degrees. Some reflect primarily on the power the teachings have to bring personal healing after experiences of dehumanization and violence. Others use Buddhism as a method for recognizing and engaging the historical and political roots of racism and its manifest suffering. Still others, such as Maxine Hong Kingston, all but entirely sublimate issues of color in favor of exploring a tragedy anyone might face — losing a precious item in a fire, for instance. The essays are uneven in their effectiveness. Many are clear, focused and elucidate the topic at hand,but others (including the editor's own) wander off topic, leaving the reader puzzled. While the collection offers welcome voices and challenging perspectives, its loose, patchy approach prevents it from becoming a genuinely compelling, cohesive anthology. 'Guilty Pleas Seen for Drug Maker'; 'Merck Says It Will Post the Results of All Drug Trials': As these headlines show, the business of medicine is news. Several forthcoming books (led off by Marcia Angell's The Truth About the Drug Companies, PW Forecasts, Aug. 2) look critically at the backstory: the impact of profits on medical care in America." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
For the first time ever, the words of Western Buddhist practitioners of color are recognized and gathered together in one groundbreaking anthology. Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Charles Johnson, Thich Nhat Hanh, and twenty-five other contributors share their unique perspectives on the fundamental Buddhist concepts of suffering and the path to the cessation of suffering. Together they represent the entire spectrum of Buddhist tradition.
Thought-provoking and passionate, Dharma, Color, and Culture forges a new path in our understanding of the simple truths of Buddhism and their relevance for all of us. Essays by Latino, Asian, African-American, and Native American Buddhist practitioners, lay people, and Dharma teachers address the connection between diversity, racism, and Buddhism at four levels: the personal, the interpersonal, the institutional, and the cultural. Recognizing that attention to the pain of racism is essential, the overarching theme of this work is how the Dharma becomes an effective antidote to the suffering and a vehicle for healing and liberation.
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Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » General