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Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation

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Igniting a long-overdue dialogue about how the legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays out in society at large and Buddhist communities in particular, this urgent call to action outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening. The authors traveled around the country to spark an open conversation that brings together the Black prophetic tradition and the wisdom of the Dharma. Bridging the world of spirit and activism, they urge a compassionate response to the systemic, state-sanctioned violence and oppression that has persisted against black people since the slave era. With national attention focused on the recent killings of unarmed black citizens and the response of the Black-centered liberation groups such as Black Lives Matter, Radical Dharma demonstrates how social transformation and personal, spiritual liberation must be articulated and inextricably linked.

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah represent a new voice in American Buddhism. Offering their own histories and experiences as illustrations of the types of challenges facing dharma practitioners and teachers who are different from those of the past five decades, they ask how teachings that transcend color, class, and caste are hindered by discrimination and the dynamics of power, shame, and ignorance. Their illuminating argument goes beyond a demand for the equality and inclusion of diverse populations to advancing a new dharma that deconstructs rather than amplifies systems of suffering and prepares us to weigh the shortcomings not only of our own minds but also of our communities. They forge a path toward reconciliation and self-liberation that rests on radical honesty, a common ground where we can drop our need for perfection and propriety and speak as souls. In a society where profit rules, people's value is determined by the color of their skin, and many voices—including queer voices—are silenced, Radical Dharma recasts the concepts of engaged spirituality, social transformation, inclusiveness, and healing.

ISBN-13: 9781623170981

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: North Atlantic Books

Publication Date: 06-14-2016

Pages: 248

Product Dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Rev. angel Kyodo williams is an author, activist, master trainer, and founder of the Center for Transformative Change. Her critically acclaimed first book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace, was hailed as "a classic" by Buddhist pioneer Jack Kornfield. Ordained as a Zen priest, she is one of the only two black women Zen "Senseis" or teachers. In 2011, Lama Rod Owens was authorized as a lama in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. He then moved to DC and ran his own center for over two years. Later, he returned to Boston to begin his divinity degree in Buddhist studies at Harvard Divinity School. Jasmine Syedullah holds a PhD in politics with a designated emphasis in feminist studies and history of consciousness from University of California, Santa Cruz, and a BA from Brown University in religious studies with a focus in Buddhist philosophy. Syedullah is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Vassar College.

Read an Excerpt

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the discovery and assertion of Siddhartha Gautama, the historic Buddha—that every human being, irrespective of caste, race, creed, or birth has within them the potential for waking up to the ultimate nature of reality—is one of the most radically life-altering propositions for human life on and in relationship to the planet. One that we need right now.

Excerpted from "Radical Dharma"
by .
Copyright © 2016 angel Kyodo Williams.
Excerpted by permission of North Atlantic Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface A Lineage of Insurgence xi

Introduction Enter Here xix

Radical Challenge xix

Kaleidoscope: How to Use This Book xxxi

Section I Homeleaving-What We Left Behind 1

Remembering in Seven Movements 3

The Abolition of Whiteness 15

A Different Drum 25

Section II Stakeholders-What We Bring Forward 37

Bringing Our Whole Selves: A Theory of Queer Dharma 39

Remembering Love: An Informal Contemplation on Healing 57

Radicalizing Dharma Dreams 75

It's Not About Love After All 89

Section III The Conversations 105

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: History of This Project 107

Radical Dharma: Race 121

Radical Dharma: Love 137

Radical Dharma: Liberation 155

Section IV Closing Words-Why Your Liberation Is Bound Up with Mine 179

What the World Needs Now 181

Radical Presence 191

A New Dharma: Prophetic Wisdom and the Rise of Transcendent Movements 191

Glossary 205

About the Authors 209

Acknowledgments 211