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Buddhadharma : Winter 2017
34 Buddhadharma: The PracTiTioner's QuarTerly as an embodied, communal expression of foundational Buddhist principles and practices. In her book, The Way of Tenderness: Awak- ening Through Race, Sexuality and Gender (2015), Zenju Earthlyn Manuel calls on Zen Buddhists to recognize both relative and abso- lute dimensions of reality and not to force a false transcendence of the embodied differences of gender and race under the guise of the nondual absolute. Larry Yang suggests that while the Insight com- munity has historically focused exclusively on mindfulness in the internal individual realm of the meditator, diversity awareness is an opportunity to apply mindfulness to the external collective realm. In his new book, Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community (2017), he shows how the “gift of com- munity” within people of color sanghas offers a corrective to this individualism. gen x and mIllennIal PersPecTIves While diversity work has been ongoing for over two decades, a generational and demographic shift among practitioners has now brought it to the forefront. One significant event at the Maha Teach- ers Council was a meeting between two groups of Western Buddhist teachers: the self-identified “pioneers,” or first-generation American teachers, and the “NextGen” teachers, with each group present- ing a set of declarations and requests to the other. One of the three statements delivered by the younger group asserted that they would transform the dharma in their own unique way, being called, in par- ticular, “to bring the dharma more fully to the needs of our diverse world, serving the Buddhist community more equally, and answering the call of injustice and inequality everywhere in our world.” In interviews with thirty-three Generation X teachers, I discov- ered that in addition to putting diversity and justice concerns at the top of their agenda, they saw themselves as distinct from their baby boomer counterparts in a number of ways. The interviewees sug- gested Gen Xers are less individualistic and have a stronger desire for peer contact and accountability. Being more open to cross-lineage collaboration, they also said they are forging a more pluralistic, (previous page) photo | A. Jesse Jiryu Davis