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Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
8 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 1 3 doing so, we affirm our belonging to the lineage of awakening that precedes even the historical Buddha, much less that of white teachers who have withheld such belonging, if for no other reason than because the dullness of their unexamined privilege has prevented them from being able to see those who are unlike them. Mara challenged Gautama’s right to ascend the seat of enlightenment, just as the dominant white paradigm showers arrows of comparison that challenge the culture, beliefs, and ways of other people, viewing them as inferior to their own. While many people wish to paint over the blight of racism that permeates the Buddhist community by casting it under the rug of a misguided fixation on identity, it was the Buddha himself who expressed an awareness of the need to address race, caste, gender, and class oppression by modeling the path to lib- eration. In reaching down and touching the earth, the Buddha of that time, and all of the buddhas who follow his radi- cal example, are witnessed by the earth itself and join a sacred, timeless, and unshakeable lineage of liberation—one that is evidenced both inside and out. The earth shudders in approval. I will continue to view the mantle of being an “authenticated” teacher with equal parts wariness and humility, as yet uncertain about whether it is best to crash the “sameness” party with healthy doses of difference or if it is of greater service to simply remain on the outside. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., “I may not stay here with you.” But no matter my personal choice, it seems the challenge established by the virtues of wisdom and compassion, and the very integrity in our practice—not to mention the radically changing world we are in that clamors for true justice—demands that the greater Buddhist sangha vigor- ously and wholeheartedly takes up the question. If we do not, the powerfully persuasive draw of these ancient teach- ings will be overwhelmed by the deep misalignment of racism and oppression. But if we do, our collective transmission will be that much more radiant, power- ful, and true. INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY IMS’s Forest Refuge program is for experienced meditators only. For more information, visit www.dharma.org or call 978-355-2063 Deepen your practice Experience a personal retreat at IMS’s Forest Refuge • Choose the length of your stay – retreat periods range from seven nights to a year or more • Develop an individual program of silent practice – supported by teacher talks and interviews • Balance solititude with community – meditate with others or in your private room • Strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance