• Black, Bisexual, and Buddhist Paid Member

    OAKLAND, Calif. (RNS) When Zenju Earthlyn Manuel goes to teach somewhere for the first time, she often sees surprise in the faces of the students as she is introduced. She doesn’t look like many of them expect. She isn’t Asian. She isn’t a man. And she isn’t white. And getting them to acknowledge that her body—her “manifestation,” as she calls it—is different and a part of her experience is crucial to her teaching. If our bodies are sources of suffering, then we ignore them at our peril. “When I have held and embraced who I am, how I am embodied, it has become a source of enlightenment, of freedom,” she said from a sunny corner window seat in her living room. Draped in a black monk’s jacket, she is a stark contrast to the white walls and white upholstery of the rest of the room. More »
  • Racism with a Smile Paid Member

    The current media vogue is to construe racism as something neo-Nazis, skinheads, or other marginal bigots do. This absolves the rest of us from taking responsibility not just for individual acts of discrimination and bias on a daily basis, but also for the ways in which white supremacy reinforces and guarantees white skin privilege. Racism in the US is not primarily about individual acts of ill will. One can be benign, neutral, open, accepting, and friendly to people of color and still be participating in the perpetuation of racism in this country merely by not actively working against racial hierarchies. More »
  • Race in the Sangha: Taking the Path Together Paid Member

    In 1992 I was visiting a Buddhist friend, and saw a copy of Beneath a Single Moon: Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala Publications, 1991) sitting on the table. Intrigued, I picked it up and scanned the table of contents to see which American poets had been selected for inclusion in the anthology’s 358 pages. I remember dropping the book as though it had burnt me. It was an instinctive response, something I didn’t even think about or try to explain to myself at the time. After that I just purposefully forgot the book even existed. More »
  • Every 28 Hours Paid Member