Author Topic: In Pursuit of Harmony  (Read 3619 times)

Jessie Fong

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In Pursuit of Harmony
« on: March 16, 2013, 07:01:21 PM »
If the concept of Buddhism is about harmony, why would Buddhists be segregated into 2 groups? Or more?
Read this from http://www.huffingtonpost.com :-


... ... how race and efforts to diversify have affected the two-million-strong Buddhist movement in the U.S. Reporting from Seattle, "a city both known for its liberal culture and its segregated populace," Kaleem takes us inside the challenge of diversifying a tradition in which "the aim is to be one with the wider spiritual world in the pursuit of harmony, and ideally, that includes going beyond skin color differences."

In the U.S., Buddhists break down roughly into two groups. Asian-American Buddhists, who make up the majority, place little emphasis on meditation, unlike the white converts, who comprise about a third of the group. "With a few exceptions, the two groups -- mostly Asians and whites -- do not mix," writes Kaleem. "One of the main reasons is that while they may share a common name for their faith, their practices are often foreign to each other."

He introduces us to Tuere Sala, who grew up in public housing projects and is now a teacher at Seattle's Insight Meditation Society. She wants to diversify the movement, but because many people of color don't feel welcome in the largely white meditation groups, she leads entirely non-white sessions. "Are they separatists?" Kaleem asks. "Or are they expanding the practice?" The answer is a little of both. "People say we're going against Buddhism," Sala says. "They are kind of right. Only kind of."

Her idea is to enlarge the movement by creating a space for people of color to feel comfortable, while also integrating a spiritual practice that urges us to transcend barriers. It's a fascinating look at how the changing face of America is affecting our faith as well.

Aurore

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Re: In Pursuit of Harmony
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 07:31:57 AM »
I think a great deal of expectations when it concerns Buddhism. People expect everyone to get along because Buddhism taught harmony. People expect to see monks in robe meditating in caves and not rap in bars. People expect to see Buddhist to be calm, peaceful and serene because the religion embodies it. If all Buddhist represents all this, then Buddhist does not need to practice and learn or go to a centre anymore.

The point is to at least start the practice in ways one is most comfortable with. When more dharma goes in, people can eventually learn to be more harmonious with each other.

sonamdhargey

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Re: In Pursuit of Harmony
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 07:57:19 AM »
We can call ourselves Buddhist, Christians, Moslems, Jews and etc but if we all differentiate each other by skin colour, ethnicity and faiths, we human kind will always remain divided and will always remain in conflict. Even in Buddhism itself has so many sects and schools and different paths for different types of people. Don't you think that even within Buddhism, there are so many segregations  ? A particular sect is predominantly Chinese and another sect are predominantly Sri Lankan, same goes for Japan and other countries. I would we are too comfortable within our culture and when another culture comes along, automatically we find it hard to adapt and mix in to the new culture.

dondrup

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Re: In Pursuit of Harmony
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 10:33:01 AM »
The essence of Buddhism remains the same since 2500 years ago when Lord Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma.  Buddhism has been accepted and practised by the different and diverse practitioners from around the World.  The United States of America just like any other countries in the World is made up of citizens of many different races.  Different Buddhist tradition attracts different followers.  Asian-American Buddhists predominantly follow the Chinese Mahayana traditions whereas the Westerners would follow a Buddhist Tradition where they could understand the teachings being taught.  Currently there are many Western Buddhist Teachers available to teach Dharma.  These Buddhist traditions with English speaking teachers would attract largely the English-speaking than the non-English speaking Americans.

On the other hand, if the segregation is really due to racial discrimination, it is against the Buddhist principle of harmony.  The Buddhist tradition that preaches disharmony is not an authentic Buddhist tradition.  All sentient beings are equal.  There should be harmony irrespective of the Buddhist Traditions – Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana. 

RedLantern

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Re: In Pursuit of Harmony
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 02:02:13 PM »
The six rules of harmony are set by Buddha for his followers to follow in order to bring about unity and  harmony.They are as follows.
1) Unity in cohabitation - Work together,live together in unity and love each other like brothers and sisters.
2) Unity in communication - Do not say harmful things;do not quarrel to bring about anger,which may lead to
fighting
3)Unity in thought - Consider every person's idea and work out a common solution to satisfy all parties.Only 
tasks can be completed.
4) Unity in observing the precepts - Always encourage and help each other to practice Buddhism.
5) Unity in sharing.- Benefits gained by an individual or by groups must be shared equally with others.This  refer to money but also any kind of recognition
6) Unity in view and explanation - share your knowledge and understanding with others so everyone can improve together  and teach the same level of understanding.
Buddha is the Enlightened one who developed the principle of the six unity of conformity for his followers so they can learn and work together in an atmosphere of brotherhood.
As a Buddhist,we always need to live by these rules in order to improve ourselves in practicing Buddhism.

Klein

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Re: In Pursuit of Harmony
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 04:19:33 PM »
I think a great deal of expectations when it concerns Buddhism. People expect everyone to get along because Buddhism taught harmony. People expect to see monks in robe meditating in caves and not rap in bars. People expect to see Buddhist to be calm, peaceful and serene because the religion embodies it. If all Buddhist represents all this, then Buddhist does not need to practice and learn or go to a centre anymore.

The point is to at least start the practice in ways one is most comfortable with. When more dharma goes in, people can eventually learn to be more harmonious with each other.

I agree with Aurore. What's important is that the person actually gets started with the practice. If the person prefers to only be in a class predominantly women or only pray or only study the scriptures or only do sand mandalas and the list goes on, it's a good start. From there, as Aurore stated, with more dharma knowledge and practice, the person will learn to go beyond the self inflicted barriers.

Therefore, we should never judge a centre or lama because we will not fully understand the intentions of the methods used. What's more important is to look at whether the students have transformed to become more compassionate, kind, loving, caring and so on.

Most of us are not learned enough in Buddhism to be able to judge what's in accordance to Buddhism. We are only guessing based on our own limited perception. Hence, it is not advisable to pass any negative comments because we may dissuade others who may like to join the particular centre or lama. They would have lost their chance of learning the dharma.