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Buddhadharma : Summer 2011
winter 2005| 8 |buddhadharma I am African-American. I am not exactly sure why Buddhism has not yet blossomed within the African-American community, but my experience suggests that much of it has to do with a deep reverence for Christianity. I was drawn to Zen Buddhism at a young age and began seriously contem- plating Shunryu Suzuki’s words in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind at the age of twelve. when I was thirteen or fourteen, I remember my father confronting me and telling me that either I would stop reading and practicing Zen in his house or I would have to go. He made it clear that his house was a house of Christianity and nothing else would be tolerated. I decided to move my books and my practice to one of the barns on our land. I can vividly remember how the moisture in that barn caused the pages of my Zen books to curl and become stiff. I remem- ber reading by the light of the open barn door as rain dropped on the tin roof. Since that time, I have not spoken to my father about Zen. Most African-Americans I know have little patience for a discussion of Zen. The reason appears to be a belief that it is sinful and pagan. In spite of this, I feel that African-Americans will inevitably embrace Zen in large numbers, and that its focus on buddhanature will resonate with the experiences of their daily lives. Brian Holeman Philadelphia, Penn. THANK YOU for Todd Stein’s arti- cle, “embracing Conflict” [Fall 2005]. Concerning the Shambhala community, Mr. Stein’s article said: “At a recent Shambhala Congress, a group of center delegates gathered to air their feelings about a scandal that had divided the organization. To keep the conversation safe and open, they used a ‘talking cir- cle,’ modeled on the meeting format of Alcoholics Anonymous.” I am curious about where Mr. Stein heard that characterization of how the Shambhala sangha is working with talking circles. I serve on Shambhala’s Mandala Council as “Coordinator of an Initiative to Bring the wisdom of Talking Circles into Shambhala.” The talking circle model that I have been offering is based on work ➤ continued page 11 Shambhala Publicat ions To order call (888) 424-2329 or visit www.shambhala.com Wise and witty, heartfelt and pro- found, the second volume of this series brings together the year’s most notable prose inspired by the power and insight of Buddhist practice. The twenty-five talented contribu- tors include familiar favorites as well as some surprising voices who will delight and enlighten readers. A few of this year’s most outstand- ing contributions come from: Natalie Goldberg • The Dalai Lama • Dharma teacher Gaylon Ferguson • Journalist Joan Duncan Oliver • Thich Nhat Hanh • Cognitive psychologist Eleanor Rosch • • Visit our website to receive a 20% discount on this and over 600 other Shambhala books! Zen teacher John Tarrant Gretel Ehrlich