end of summer

We got some weird weather in these parts in September. September in the Bay Area is usually a late summer, dry and hot. Instead, we got thunder storms. A somewhat fitting end for a summer of contentious, Buddhist blogging about the politics of race and representation.

Over the last couple of days, I have tried to write a blog post about these issues, some sort of summary post, or some sort of recap of the issues, or even a response to some of the more slanderous things that been said out there. But I can’t seem to get the right tone, get my thoughts in order. I keep getting distracted.

What’s been distracting me? Life. Life has been getting in the way of this pretty shabby-looking blog more and more these past few weeks as some deadlines came (and passed) and new projects loom on the horizon. But it’s not just projects, it’s not just work or things I need to do to pay the bills. It’s more than that. It’s friends and family. It’s my larger community. Things that bring me great joy and are themselves sources of spiritual practice and growth. And, yes, there’s work. A lot of work lately. But the work I’m doing is also a source of deep joy for me. When you get right down to it, most everything I do is in service to the Dharma or my community. How could I possibly complain?

And then it occurred to me: I haven’t felt compelled to stop everything I’m doing in order to engage in some argument on the Internet about Buddhism and Buddhists because I’ve been thoroughly engaged with living my life — with being a Buddhist.

Over the last several years, I have written a lot of things about race, about privilege, about the representations of Buddhists in the mass media and in academia. And the reason I write about these issues is because of a firm belief that these representations have consequences on real people and communities out there in the world, offline from the Internets.

And, frankly, at times the level of discourse around here has been a bit too cerebral. Even for me.

So I’ve been unplugging. Perhaps in some unconscious way reconnecting to all of those reasons why I care about the politics of race and representation in the first place. Not to win some argument. But to make a better world.

It’s the beginning of autumn. I am feeling focused on issues that matter more to me than the petty name calling of this past summer. Expect a slew of new writing in the days to come, as well as new projects both in the real world and on the Internets. Time to turn the page.