It’s a quarter to nine in the morning. And I’m a little sleepy. And I’m liable to say some things in what follows that I might regret. Or at least will want to temper at some point when I’ve had a bit more coffee or settled down. So consider yourself warned.
Screw this whole academic thing. I wanna be a rock star. I should never have given up the drums!
The view from Berkeley, from Los Angeles, from Portland and Seattle, on the other hand, is completely different. San Francisco, after all, has the highest concentration of Chinese anywhere outside of China. The number of Japanese Buddhists in Hawaii is still large enough to make Buddhism the second largest religion on the islands. And the division between â€œtwo Buddhisms,â€ one white, one Asian, seems ludicrous because the communities are, and have been, so deeply interrelated since the foundation of the Buddhist Churches of America in 1899. American Buddhism necessarily includes Asians for those of us out here on the Left Coast. Itâ€™s a given.
Ah, the more things change. If we hop into the way-back machine, we’ll find this editorial to Tricycle magazine from 1991 wherein then editor Helen Tworkov writes, “so far, [Asian-American Buddhists] have not figured very prominently in the development of something called American Buddhism.” Nearly two decades later and not much has changed. The mainstream Buddhist press continues to talk about white converts to Buddhism as if they’re the only thing that’s happening out there in Buddhist America. I had a feeling this would get worse after the Pew Report. Ah well. Frankly, I’m not surprised and am even a little equanimous about the whole thing. Despite the fact that we just elected a
black mixed race President, looks like some folks just can’t wrap their heads about this whole “race” thing and why it’s relevant to Buddhism.