using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
buddhadharma| 45 |summer 2005 ferent from him, because he spent so much time learning about various cultures and ways of living in the world. We had a retreat where the goal was to have a mixed representation of people’s colors, and it was successful, but it takes a lot of work, and there need to be enough people of color who can trust that that process is going to work for them. Guy mCCloskey: We have deliberately applied diver- sity training for our leadership, but at this stage our leadership has come to reflect the demograph- ics of our membership. We don’t have to go look- ing for people of color. White people are getting used to listening to black people, as opposed to the other way around. Buddhadharma: Many people will tell you that their first experiences in entering a Buddhist center were far from nurturing; they were in fact intimidat- ing. Many people find the atmosphere of Zen, for example, austere and uninviting. Paul haller: Yes, that is often people’s experience. There is a kind of an implied austerity in the Zen atten- tion to detail. That is the feedback we get. After all, Zen is traditionally a wisdom tradition. But one thing I have noted is that in many of the Zen communities, the Metta Sutta, a Theravadin text on loving-kindness, has been brought into the standard liturgy. As Zen finds its way and its expression in America, I think the active expression of compassion will become a more significant attribute. This whole Zen notion of “We don’t reach out to you; in fact we make it a lit- tle bit difficult for you” is something we are working very directly with these days. We are regularly asking ourselves, “Are we creating too much of a barrier?” I would like to add, though, that I am working- class Irish from Belfast. I did get a college degree, that’s true, but my family background is work- ing-class. So, it doesn’t seem to do us much good, either, to stick too tightly to this notion that every- body is upper class and highly educated. There are people from many different backgrounds in the various sanghas I am involved with – not just Zen, but also Vipassana. Buddhadharma: Does it make more sense to put emphasis on integration and mixing, trying to attract the people who are currently marginalized to already established programs, or should the emphasis be on creating new programs to meet the needs of particular groups of people? marlene Jones: All of the above, but the first and most important is retreats, day-longs, and work- shops for separate groups, because they draw new people that are not familiar with the dharma. When I first came to Spirit Rock in 1991, I felt like I had to leave myself outside. I had to assimi- late or I wouldn’t fit in. I watched people of color walk in the door and not come back, over and over and over again. People of color would show up with the intention of being here and joining the sangha. Maybe they would come back once, and then never again. That’s when it occurred to me that we needed to create an environment where they could feel safe and welcome, and be able to access the dharma without facing cultural exclu- sion – without, in a word, being ignored. Separate events give people an opportunity to enter comfortably, to access the land and the resources of a center like Spirit Rock, which should belong to everyone. Once people have entered, I try to encourage them to integrate into what is already established. So now, as I’ve said, we are trying to create more environments that are mixed, where there is some confluence. Paul haller: The strategy that Marlene describes very much accords with our experience. Someone must feel safe enough and connected enough before their participation becomes full. Until that point, they have a guarded and qualified connec- tion. That is just the human condition. It is not a one-shot deal. It’s a process. For example, maybe fifteen years ago, the notion of being gay or lesbian was a little problematic within our community. Since then, gays and lesbians have been completely integrated and hold all sorts of positions of authority and prestige. That’s hap- pened, to a large extent, because the level of safety and acceptance has grown. It’s a very small issue for us now. That would be my hope for other peo- ple who are marginalized because of race or class. Over the next decade or two – through familiar- ity, exposure, and growing diversity in our demo- graphics – the boundaries and separations that require active, purposeful agendas and strategies right now will no longer be a major concern. We will end up with a similar kind of integration as we have had with gays and lesbians. Buddhadharma: If the mandate of Buddhism, as expressed in the bodhisattva ideal, is to help all beings, how are we doing? Some have said that American Buddhism is little more than a self-help movement. Paul haller: How we present the dharma will evolve. I don’t think any of our communities pur- posely sat down and thought, “Let’s do this for this reason and for this effect.” It just came out of our practice. As we settle into this practice, and it’s less of us doing it and more of it doing us, we will become more connected and open to the envi- ronments and communities we’re in. Who we are, and the liturgies and the presentations we make, will resonate more with what is needed in those It seems to me that there is a tendency among convert Buddhists to turn Buddhism itself, the buddhadharma, into a commodity and a self-help program, rather than seeing it as a system to help people out of suffering. — Charles Prebish