This post will focus more on that issue the of whitewashing culture, of the homogenization of culture. This will bring us closer to the task at hand, namely, figuring out why this issue is important for Buddhism in the West.
But perhaps the best way to understand this is to take a step back away from Buddhism, and even a step back from race, and examine a different homogenization of culture. And we can find such an example in the current debate raging over gay marriage.
Some bloggers these days post daily (or weekly) digests of things they’re reading. You don’t want some bland, decontextualized list. You want commentary. You want to read my list of depressing (and hopeful) news stories from the Interwebs, circa this week, 2009. (Oh, and I hella love Oakland.)
The ever-clever (and able to hold her liquor) SJ commented on my last post asking, I think, for a rant about archaism and oppression masquerading as tradition. And post-colonialism. Dear me. That’s a lot. But I’m always up for a challenge!
Over the past couple of months, both online and in the real-world, the issue of identity has come up in a number conversations I’ve had. A recurring theme has been the explicit rejection of identity as a meaningful category or, more plainly, the assertion that folks don’t want to claim an identity or “don’t want to be defined” as one thing or another.
The notion of identity and the related but different “subjectivity” in social theory is a given, so this attitude surprised me. Which, of course, is a sure sign that even I can get a little myopic out here in the academic hinterlands.
So I thought I’d write about it, organize my thoughts, and make a case for not only the reality of your identity but its relevance to Buddhist practice.
How to tell your family you are Buddhist.
So. The Buddha Boy is back.
An interesting little piece has been making the Buddhist-news rounds this week about a teenager named Ram Bahadur Bamjan in southern Nepal who has apparently been sitting around in mediation, not eating or drinking water or even sleeping, for years on end. I guess he said he was going to be in mediation for a lot longer, but decided to come out of the jungle this week to address his followers.
They say he’s the reincarnation of the Buddha.