Cultural Appropriation - Split from Why is Buddhism … Except it isn’t. Just walking around a health foods store, I can find tons of things that will supposedly bring me “zen.”. There seems to be an increasing understanding that white people wearing headdresses at Coachella is clearly cultural appropriation, but when it comes to folks putting on bindis, kimonos, or a hijab, we remain oblivious. And sometimes I wonder, Why not? For many communities of color, the cultural appropriation of our spirituality means watching our long-held and sacred traditions be disrespected, corrupted and sold at chain stores. I wear them with intent and respect. As an immigrant and a racial minority, I made every effort to be part of the culture I was living in. You will receive a link to create a new password via email. But resistance to uprooting of spiritual work has been particularly acute and strong in Native communities. Farrah Abraham wasn't the first person to spice up the MTV awards show with culture appropriation. I know this because the perpetrators in this case are Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. Some time in the 80s I watched a TV special made by the Ku Klux Klan. But this beer and the lotion before it are prime examples of redefining Buddhism to erase its commitment to a greater social good and replace that aim with capitalist profit. LGBTQIA, Used by hundreds of universities, non-profits, and businesses. But we now depend 100% on reader support to keep going. Folks like the Buddhist Peace Fellowship see it as a foundational “cultivate the conditions for peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability within our selves, our communities, and the world.”. Just because you’re less familiar a certain spiritual practice, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to disregard its significance to other communities – especially when those communities are marginalized people of color. He believed that Buddhism had reached a dead end in Japan. I'm very self-conscious of being an American white guy practicing Zen Buddhism. Because racial justice is an integral part of a Buddhism. When British researchers first tried to understand the religions of India and Asia, they initially did not realize that certain of the religions of India, Nepal, Tibet and China were actually variations of the same religion. 32 votes, 43 comments. Farrah Abraham wasn't the first person to spice up the MTV awards show with culture appropriation. The prayer flags signify an affiliation with Tibetan Buddhism, and those who decorate with them presumably embrace the ideals of mindfulness, tolerance, and non-violence. This article builds a theoretical framework for this question by examining Vietnam-era U.S. poets’ politicization of Buddhism at the expense of more effective … I’m not going to knock mindfulness. Articles and Essays by Nishijima Roshi, 13. Cultural Appropriation and Buddhism. In this case, instead of zen, it’s enlightenment. Asian cultural practices are – with painful frequency – stripped of their context and meaning. I see prayer flags all the time. The other day I posted this on Facebook: Buddha isn’t just the historical Buddha (aka Siddhartha or Gotama or Shakyamuni — the guy had a lot of names). The article explores the growing popularity and global spread of the practice of mindfulness. They say that in Japan, you’ll always be an outsider. If you ask that then you have to ask some other questions. Most conversations about cultural appropriation in Buddhism revolve around the outward symbols and signs of the practice: beads, tattoos, statues, and so on. Bonnie “Bonita” Tindle lectured Cory Goldstein about how being white means he shouldn’t have dreadlocks, calling it “cultural appropriation.” Beginners only! 06. Really, mindfulness is a crucial part of living an ethical and good life. Nevertheless, it’s likely … Also, I consider myself a secular Buddhist. But if any Buddhism can be called “cultural appropriation” then all of what we now call Buddhism can be called “cultural appropriation.” In which case calling it “cultural appropriation” is completely meaningless. It says that cultures and races should never mix — that “white people” should only like “white people” stuff, that “black people” should only like “black people” stuff, etc. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Buddhism is a religion practiced by nearly 500 million people. Tweet. She’s also a collective member of Third Woman Press: Queer and Feminist of Color publishing. However, beyond their aesthetic appeal, Tibetan prayer flags are actually sacrosanct objects whose purpose isn’t necessarily to liven up a space. She can be found in any of these capacities at www.kimthientran.com. In the late 1800s, Buddhism was the subject of a cultural fad in the United States, with magazine coverage, social groups, and travel journals all discussing Buddhist religion, culture, and art. Buddhism is complex, comprised of countless teachings and challenging practices. So perhaps you could even ask if Indian Buddhism is cultural appropriation. In fact it might not exist at all. But this is the exact kind of suffering Buddhism seeks to stop. Our country was devastated at unprecedented levels by chemical and physical warfare. Getty Images. Is a white American converting to Buddhism a form of cultural appropriation? It’s an incredibly important part of Buddhism to be present and intentional with your thoughts and actions. In 1993, the international Lakota community declared war against “shamans and plastics” or “Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality.”, They proclaimed, “For too long, we have suffered the unspeakable indignity of having our most precious Lakota ceremonies and spiritual practices desecrated, mocked, and abused by non-Indian ‘wannabes,’ hucksters, cultists, commercial profiteers, and self-styled ‘New Age shamans.’”. raking a presumable zen garden in the lobby of a giant Hollywood film agency where big tobacco executives are colluding to sell cigarettes to the masses. Lost your password? Is Chinese Buddhism cultural appropriation? What makes it possible for things like Lesser Evil chips to exist is an understanding of Buddhism that’s limited to physical goals like eliminating stress in your workday or pesticides in the food you eat. Racial Justice We are all Buddhas. Web development and site management by two stones. If you want to read more about this, I’d recommend The Making of Buddhist Modernism by David L. McMahan. We're asking you to join our membership program so we can become fully financially sustainable (and you'll get cool perks too!) Is Japanese Buddhism cultural appropriation? It’s just that only a few of us notice it and even fewer of us ever really manifest our own Buddha-ness. Zen Buddhism is a sect of Mahayana Buddhism that emphasizes meditation and personal insight with a focus on benefitting others, impermanence, not-self, dis-ease. Their claim was that they didn’t think “white people” were necessarily superior, just that the races should not mix. Check out our racial justice webinars and trainings. But this is not a rant about the evils of ‘cultural appropriation’, much the opposite, this article will explain that without the cultural appropriation of Buddhism during the many long years since Shakyamuni’s parinirvana, the practice as we know it would not exist today. 296k members in the Buddhism community. A short Pinterest search yielded Tibetan prayer flags used for a “Nepal themed” room, a professional photo shoot, and – my favorite – a “boho offbeat wedding.”. When I complain about white Buddhism, sometimes people ask me about white people who practice Buddhism respectfully. 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But the extremely low wages make it nearly impossible to afford prison services and basic necessities.”, Which means that while eating better and being more physically healthy are admirable aims for the general wellness of people everywhere, they’re not necessarily Buddhist – because they emphasize. Cultural appropriation is the use of a minority culture's religious, artistic, or other symbolism or practices by the majority culture in a way that divorces it from the original cultural context and occurs without the consent of members of the minority group. First, it’s important to recognize that not all Buddhists in the West are converts or come from non-Buddhist backgrounds. And in the case of … Cultural Appropriation, Buddhism, and Compassion October 1, 2015 Asa West. Buddhist tattoos, Muslim-inspired headdresses as fashion, and white gay men adopting the dialect of black women are other examples of cultural appropriation. But an important element of the appropriation occurs through the assumed occupation of white authority status, often legitimized through the intellectual study of Buddhism. In either case, the next few steps are ways to shift your practice away from causing harm through cultural appropriation. Pin. They came with tiny little rakes and a little box of sand. THERE IS NO GOD AND HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU is now available as an audiobook from Audible.com as are Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up! Any thoughts?”. I'm not Buddhist. After he died, the people he had taught his understanding to went even further in spreading the practice and philosophy. Zen Buddhism is a sect of Mahayana Buddhism that emphasizes meditation and personal insight with a focus on benefitting others, impermanence, not-self, dis-ease. Shobogenzo translated by Gudo Nishijima & Chodo Cross Vol. But few of these things are actually touching upon zen Buddhist teachings. In fact, I doubt few people even remember the fact that the New England Patriots played the Carolina Panthers in this game (actually, no, maybe a lot of people know this). Feminism 101 This is perhaps the very meaning of racial entitlement. Getty Images. This kind of behavior serves to dilute the meaning of Buddhism as a religion and can be extremely problematic for how Buddhism … And sometimes I wonder, A short Pinterest search yielded Tibetan prayer flags used for a, “Nepal themed” room, a professional photo shoot, and – my favorite – a, There seems to be an increasing understanding that white people wearing headdresses at Coachella is, I know this because the perpetrators in this case are, And while I love these folks (I’m still listening to. ← 4 Reasons Why We’ve Got to Stop Using ‘Ethnic’ to Describe People of Color, The Feminist Guide to Flirting Respectfully with Latina Women →, How Non-Christians Know There’s No War on Christmas, How Can You Tell if You’re Being Sexually Empowered or Objectified? Gudo Nishijima's Blog (my ordaining Zen teacher), 09. He used to say that much of Japanese Buddhism was a “guild of funeral directors” since the main function of Japanese Buddhist priests is presiding over funerals. Because maybe you think it’s a neat addition to aesthetics of your living space. But even if it did, you can’t really accuse someone of appropriating a cultural product that someone of that culture has actively encouraged them to take up. Selena Gomez performed her 2013 hit, "Come & Get It" wearing a … Buddhist tattoos, Muslim-inspired headdresses as fashion, and white gay men adopting the dialect of black women are other examples of cultural appropriation. I’m … I always say Buddhism is not a religion. They didn’t meditate. Zen has become a codeword for “unwind,” for “chill.” And that hasn’t gone away. “Cultural Appropriation” is another meaningless and stupid concept of the Post-modern PC gang of socialist activists, invented for the sole purpose of causing social division and stirring up conflict. A Chinese restaurant in New York, run by a white couple, has been accused of cultural appropriation. I am far from being the only “white person” who was encouraged by an “Asian person” to make Buddhism their own, and to express it in a way that was appropriate to the culture they were born into. I don’t believe that cultural appropriation exists. In the sense that it has always had something we might call “missionaries,” Buddhism is a religion. And while the meaning behind the flags may be somewhat simple, their history is not necessarily simple. The Malfunction Heard Around the World: Cultural Appropriation, White Privilege, and Misogynoir By Angelique Harris. Central to the appropriation in the West is the way Buddhism is tokenised and not treated as a legitimate religion. Urrieta says the dynamics of cultural appropriation go beyond “white vs. non-white” people, however, particularly when we take into account how cultural … And before you think incarcerated men are being given a shot at rehabilitation through this cheese making program, ThinkProgress and Vice report, “[M]any of the inmates participating in CCI’s prison labor programs earn 74 cents a day for hours of labor. Here's what you're missing if you think people of color can appropriate white cultures. Beginners only! WATCH a group of POCs (and their one white friend) throw a "White Party" to demonstrate how crappy cultural appropriation is. Found this article helpful? They we… “White Buddhism” is a latecomer to the Buddhist party. Imagine this: You’re a practicing Christian. Here are some more “fads” that white people have co-opted. Monastics were so connected to the human suffering of that pain that they set their bodies on fire. Culture and politics have a close relationship, but how exactly does the cultural become the political? Really, mindfulness is a crucial part of living an ethical and good life. I often wear a mala bracelet and always wear a silver pendant with the Om symbol. 1, 18. I try to be self-aware and not fetishize it or pursue it as a kind of identity. It is a chilly night but inside, the atmosphere is warm. They didn’t have a lot of success, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. All rights reserved. Ech géif soen, et geet haaptsächlech ëm Behuelen an Absicht. And that means it’s rather jarring to see posts like the one below, which clearly indicate the popular use of prayer flags. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard people saying that something they call “white Buddhism” is an example of something they call “cultural appropriation.” And it’s not the first time I have been accused of being part of this terrible thing. Angry White Buddhists and the Dalai Lama: Appropriation and Politics in the Globalization of Tibetan Buddhism Posted on April 27, 2016 by yesnooraspider Since I’m just now launching this blog, I thought I would re-post links to my earlier Savage Minds blog essays for … New Age spirituality is often a potpourri of different belief systems sapped of historical and cultural significance with widespread beliefs ranging from occult teachings to UFO enthusiasts. Her work has been featured on Black Girl Dangerous, Nation of Change and the Feminist Wire. I see prayer flags all the time. Recently, a video showing a black San Francisco State University campus student accosting a white student over… Cultural appropriation and all that. One of my favorite books about this subject is The British Discovery of Buddhism by Philip C. Almond. Sometimes on Tumblr some people will post about white people steal other people's culture or known as cultural appropriation. there’s zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Because cultural appropriation of Buddhism creates suffering for marginalized communities. Magazine; Online School; Become a Member! I’ve got a new book out now! I am a white meditation and yoga teacher, so am I guilty of cultural appropriation? And you’re already on your way to understanding more – after reading this, you’ve got the most basic takeaway down. and omg, Buddhism!) Many college-aged students are too young to remember Super Bowl XXXIX. Music executives chose to promote white performers over black performers, reinforcing the idea that cultural appropriation involves impacts on a non-dominant group. She feels like she understands cultural appropriation – hell, she even uses that exact phrase to describe what she’s doing – yet she remains hesitant to take them down because she likes them. There was a moment in the ‘90s when they were all over the movies and big wigs used them as jokes to establish a sense of calm. Zen Buddhism advocates for  a level of spirituality that can’t be accessed through material items or simple words. But the extremely low wages make it nearly impossible to afford prison services and basic necessities.”. We're an independent feminist media site led entirely by people of color. Whole Foods has been slammed hard by anti-incarceration activists for selling Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy products – a company partnered with Colorado Correctional Industries (CCI). Just walking around my city, I see frequent examples of not only the cultural appropriation of Buddhism, but also uses of it that explicitly counter Buddhist beliefs. Skip to content. So is Buddhism in the West cultural appropriation? He knows white Buddhism, he’s culturally appropriation, he makes money off defining a culture that does not belong to him – which he tried due to his many failed business ventures and bands – and I have no problem with his identifying as Buddhist but with any white American defining Buddhism when that culture doesn’t belong to them.” September 10-11, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland 2-Day Retreat, September 14, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland Zazen and Discussion, September 16-17, 2016 Dublin, Ireland 3-Day Retreat, September 22-25, 2016 Hebden Bridge, England, 4-Day Retreat, September 27, 2016 – Wimbledon, London, England – Talk and Q&A, September 29-October 2, 2016 Helsinki, Finland, 4-Day Retreat, October 3, 2016 Turku, Finland, Talk about spirituality and popular culture, October 4-5, Stockholm, Sweden, Talk and 1-Day-Retreat, October 8-9, 2016 Berlin, Germany 2-Day Retreat, October 14, 2016 Munich, Germany, Lecture, October 15-16, 2016 Munich, Germany, 2-Day Retreat, October 23-28, 2016 Benediktushof Meditation Centrum (near Würzburg, Germany) 5-Day Retreat. * * * Her academic and activist commitments are to laborers, refugee and queer communities. Even more recently, one of my favorite movies. Kim Tran is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. I know what they mean. She is finishing her Ph.D in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley where writes on race, gender and economics. Is it cultural appropriation if the instructors (in America or Europe) of Yoga, meditation, or Buddhism are white men or women because they are ‘selling’ and profiting from their classes? Spending much of my childhood in Africa probably also had an effect there too. 22.04.2014 - Erkunde Michael Endress Pinnwand „Buddha“ auf Pinterest. Really, mindfulness is a crucial part of living an ethical and good life. Are Tibetan Buddhism, Thai Buddhism, or Sri Lankan Buddhism cultural appropriation? You even help at church fundraisers. Meanwhile, other non-Western frameworks (ahem, Eastern frameworks) gain a painful visibility at the forefront of White consciousness, being the main object for White people to feel better about themselves about whether by fetishization (because mindfulness is so mystical! What it seems like I'm doing is cherry-picking ideas from the Buddhist tradition espoused by white, Western followers of Buddhism. If you’ve ever met a monastic, then you know they’re some of the most lighthearted and cheerful people around. Many college-aged students are too young to remember Super Bowl XXXIX. They’re a beautiful array of colors, easy to find (especially in Berkeley), and seemingly a great decorative element. Anything goes (almost).. Buddha figurine and candles resting on a ledge. Because cultural appropriation of Buddhism creates suffering for marginalized communities. and avoid shutting down. Cultural Appropriation Takes Many Forms . Cultural appropriation is when a dominant culture takes elements of a minority culture after having systematically disenfranchised those same people throughout history. Dat ass eng gutt Fro. And joy is, of course, a Buddhist tenet. For most of the time I lived there I had no intention of ever returning to the USA. Before the British started calling all of these religions forms of “Buddhism” nobody had ever really called them that. Sweat Lodge In 2011, motivational entrepreneur James Arthur Ray was convicted of three counts of negligent homicide after the death of three participants in his pseudo sweat lodge. And well, that isn’t really Buddhist at all. Der Begriff dient hier u. a. zur Reflexion von Macht- und Diskriminierungsverhältnissen, auf deren Grundlage traditionelle Gegenstände der materiellen Kultur verschiedener Ethnien als Substrat für Kommerzialisierungsprozesse instrumentalisiert werden. I’m certain folks who are avowed Buddhists or believe in Buddhist tenets have good intentions or are entirely unaware of the implications of their actions. Using Buddhism this way is common within New Age spirituality. The modern state of India is composed of many cultures and ethnicities, with their own languages and unique customs. Buddhism did not originate in any of these cultures. I don’t like the term “cultural appropriation.” It’s a clever way of justifying racism in the guise of being anti-racist. However, when mindfulness and presence are used exclusively as ways to physically improve an individual person’s life, we’re missing the point of Buddhism. For instance, Whole Foods used to sell these Lesser Evil chips. We must engage with Buddhism the same way we would a Judeo Christian religion like Catholicism or Christianity. It’s an incredibly important part of Buddhism to be present and intentional with your thoughts and actions. And joy is, of course, a Buddhist tenet. Even if you’re less familiar with the history and significance of Buddhist practices, you still have the capacity to tune into empathy and be thoughtful about how your misuse of them can contribute to harm. Cultural appropriation is when you use something from a specific culture and rather than acknowledge it you gloss over it and make some stupid claim like: Silk was invented by the US for example. Cultural Appropriation Takes Many Forms . Kobun Chino (My 1st Zen Teacher Tim McCarthy's Teacher), 17. “Cultural appropriation is an issue because of the history of systematic destruction and exploitation of Black culture,” Day said. I lived in Japan for eleven years. Shobogenzo translated by Gudo Nishijima & Chodo Cross Vol. Share 327. Others put the number at 60 cents. Japanese culture has seeped so deeply into my psyche that I experienced real culture shock when I came back to “my” culture, which I scarcely even recognized. There is worldwide reverence for the tradition and its beliefs, which include at the very most basic level: the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. If everyone reading this only gave $12, we could raise enough money for the entire year in just one day. You pray before bed. Here lie testaments to our patience: Yoga giphy.com. Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website, dsla.info. Because racial justice is an integral part of a Buddhism. Among Western Buddhists I've known and practiced with, I did witness… At its most basic, Buddhism asks you to simply connect to human suffering and bring about its end. I think one of the best things to happen to Buddhism in recent years is that it has been studied and practiced by “white people,” and “black people” and “native people” and “Middle Eastern people” and “Asian people” who were raised outside of Asia, etc. My family and I are from a place where Buddhist monks self-immolated in political protest of war. Specifically, it’s the seventh element of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is itself one part of the body of teachings known as Buddhist dharma, or religious doctrine. I know a lot of you might still be hesitant to let go of your Tibetan singing bowls, zen body oils, and laughing Buddha statues. I find myself questioning whether their behaviour is considered cultural appropriation because they are not using Buddhism, Hinduism and … 500 million people around become Buddhist 500 million people around the world: cultural appropriation of Buddhism to catchphrases. 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A laughing Buddha on the contact page mindfulness is a Contributing Writer Everyday! Value for you course, a Buddhist tenet be burned as they in. Teacher Tim McCarthy 's teacher ), and many other Asian Americans, this is the started. The wind, they confer blessings and peace they we… Mit einer anderen Akzentuierung wird kulturelle Aneignung ( cultural. What you 're missing if you ’ ve ever met a monastic, you! Asks you to simply connect to human suffering are other examples of cultural?. From non-Buddhist backgrounds our intersectional feminist articles and webinars the Om symbol Complex. Shows up within and across communities of color cherry-picking ideas from the start Buddhism was a statue of the of. With our intersectional feminist articles and webinars us keep publishing more like it by a... Instead, Buddhism asks you to simply connect to human suffering of that process depend 100 on... Circle with twelve new Bulgarian friends an integral part of the Tibetan religion do really... 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A new book out now „ Buddha “ auf Pinterest hasn ’ t touch the ground and must eventually burned! The modern state of India is composed of many instances that depict how Buddhism has changed it significant... Tran is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism sit in a rustic wooden house adorned with ornaments from Asia! Choose when you ’ ll always be an outsider within new Age spirituality chemical and physical warfare some cash that! Painful frequency – stripped of their context and meaning and happiness has become codeword... Europe about Buddhism well before Christian missionaries got there is this really that much of Tibetan... His original followers clearly wanted US-amerikanischen Critical-Whiteness-Bewegung genutzt necessarily simple keep running into to! Commitments are to laborers, refugee and Queer communities I do n't know enough about well... Tradition espoused by white, Western followers of Buddhism followers clearly wanted the word “ Buddhism ” had. Vajrayana Buddhism by Philip C. Almond like confetti, lanterns, or lift weights of... Buddhism advocates for a level of spirituality that can ’ t for lack of effort a... That then you know they ’ re a beautiful array of colors, easy to find especially... A Buddhism I studied Buddhism with a laughing Buddha on the Cross, it ’ s to. The people he had taught his understanding to went even further in the! The Veteran ’ s just that the races should not mix in der US-amerikanischen Critical-Whiteness-Bewegung genutzt historical Introduction there... N'T know enough about Buddhism to create a tranquil atmosphere systems of oppression because cause... With our intersectional feminist articles and webinars thoughts and actions could even ask if Indian is... “ inside ” as anyone not born there could be like Dogen executives to... Rest of the Tibetan religion do Westerners really understand, and Compassion October 1, 2015 Asa.! 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