Wednesday, June 7, 2023
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Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month – Lions Roar

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, we’re sharing articles by and about Asian American Buddhists from our archives.

Could is Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month!

Each week this month, Lion’s Roar will spotlight a number of articles by or about Asian American Buddhists from our archives. Every week’s articles will concentrate on a distinct theme, curated by Affiliate Editor Mihiri Tillakaratne.

We hope you take pleasure in exploring the complexity, struggles, and joys of the Asian American Buddhist expertise!

Listed here are some examples of the tales we are going to share within the weeks to return:

On this excerpt from Be the Refuge: Elevating the Voices of Asian American Buddhists, Chenxing Han shares how Asian American Buddhists are usually not solely usually invisible to the mainstream, however to one another.

“Who do you assume are probably the most well-known Buddhist people in America?” The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh are the primary names to return up, in fact.

“And what about Buddhists residing in America?” Jack Kornfield, Robert Thurman, Steve Jobs, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, Richard Gere, Tina Turner, Pema Chodron, Joan Halifax … A deluge of solutions from the thirty-two folks within the room.

“What about Asian American Buddhists?” Crickets.

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The actor, creator, and undisputed King of Social Media displays on his fascinating private historical past: his childhood and his household’s internment throughout World Conflict II, his life as a homosexual man and activist, how far we’ve all come, and why we should press on collectively.

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I used to be born to a Buddhist household — my father was Zen and my mom was Shin, and each have been reasonably informal about it. Earlier than Internment all I bear in mind of Buddhist temples are the funerals and the weddings.

Then the Internment got here. It was a really chaotic time. I don’t bear in mind a lot faith besides that my mom had created a tiny altar in our little barrack room.

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Asian American Buddhist communities have for years been dismissed by “convert” Buddhists for carrying “cultural baggage.” Nalika Gajaweera says the response shouldn’t be to let it go however to assert it as a mark of cultural accountability.

You possibly can usually hear Western meditation-based convert circles use the time period “cultural baggage” to consult with the ritualized acts, cosmological concepts, and devotional practices related to “heritage” Buddhist communities. That is in distinction to the thought of a extra “genuine” or “true” Buddhism that’s consonant with a contemporary rationalized worldview. In my analysis amongst meditation-centric convert Buddhist communities, I constantly observe a reluctance to take “heritage Buddhist” practices and cosmologies significantly, with a lot of my interlocutors usually commenting on these concepts’ incompatibility with their very own interpretation of Buddhism.

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Jen Racho, Karl Palma, Victoria Mausisa, and Jury Candelario share a glance into their religious journeys and what Buddhism means to them.

The Philippines is nestled in Southeast Asia, close to richly Buddhist international locations like Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. To the north of the Philippines are China, Korea and Japan, international locations with lengthy Buddhist traditions. Even neighboring Indonesia, a predominantly Islamic nation, has a fancy Buddhist historical past — search “Borabudor” on Google. Apart from the scant Buddhist artifacts found within the Philippines, the nation isn’t identified for its Buddhism. That’s actually altering as extra temples pop up influenced by Chinese language and different Asian immigrants who’re calling the Philippines dwelling.

Despite the fact that the Philippines isn’t a “Buddhist nation,” Buddhist Filipinos do exist and are thriving, notably in America.

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Novelist Ruth Ozeki, creator of My 12 months of Meats, A Story for the Time Being, and The E-book of Kind and Vacancy discusses her inventive course of, the transformative energy of grief, and what it’s like rising up mixed-race in America.

Nancy Chu: The E-book of Kind and Vacancy is a couple of boy, Benny, whose father dies. In response to that tragedy, Benny begins to listen to voices, whereas his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding downside. What does this novel say about loss?

Ruth Ozeki: Grief sensitizes us, it opens us up. With Benny, his grief and his confusion over his father’s demise make him extra receptive to issues that maybe the remainder of us can’t understand. Annabelle, too, is a deeply receptive one that sees the sweetness in every little thing, and because of this she hoards. She’s drawn to things and their histories as a result of they’ve an animate presence and vitality for her.

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