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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
46 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY It would also demand a high degree of selfhonesty, which is hard. Fortunately the teachings offer a way through that is insight ful and compassionate. Seeing self through the lens of nonself helps us understand that white supremacy is a conditioned construct that diminishes everyone. The Buddha articulated his enlightenment as the deconstruction of the house of self: “Your rafters have been broken down; your ridgepole is demolished too.” In these times, it’s important that the journey of deconstruction be undertaken not just as a personal practice but also as a collective process. As Buddhism undergoes adaptation in the West, predominantly white sanghas tend to promote a rational Eurocentric view as supe rior, and therefore dominant, without much thought to the conse quence. This keeps white Buddhists comfortable in the “master’s house” where, alongside internalized racial prejudice, we assume a norm that becomes standardized in the forms, views, and practices we feel represent a truer Buddhism. While this makes sense for much of Western secular society, it may not for cultures that inhabit a col lective, and therefore relationally felt, experience of self rather than a strongly individuated and rational one. When dharma practice focuses primarily on individual efforts, leaving out the impact of systemic inequity, it reinforces internalized oppression. This means the wounding of historic racism gets configured as a personal fail ing rather than acknowledged as a collective responsibility. It leaves people of color with levels of suffering and struggle that white teach ers don’t see, misinterpret, or even dismiss. opposite | The Monkey Wrench (2015) by John Morfi