Black & Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation, & Freedom

Edited by Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Cheryl A. Giles. Shambhala, $19.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-61180-865-0
In this excellent anthology, meditation instructor Yetunde (The Inheritance) and psychologist Giles (The Arts of Contemplative Care) collect works by Black Buddhist practitioners that explore racial trauma and resilience through the practices of Buddhism. The eight authors cover such diverse Buddhist traditions as Zen, Shambhala, Tibetan, and Theravadan—framed by Yetunde and Giles’s assertion that Buddhism is “a path to de-caste or decolonize one’s mind” while nurturing resilience despite trauma. The Black experience is the centerpiece in this text, and all of the volume’s authors grapple with the suffering tied to their racialization. Giles opens with an essay on how the Black American experience parallels the Buddha’s own journey: “The legacy of black enslaved bodies is a powerful example of the enduring spirit of resistance and love that serves as a reminder that freedom is possible.” Sebene Selassie explores how Western “exoticizing and patronizing tropes” toward Asian religions have distorted their true meaning and often caused disconnection from one’s heritage. This timely exploration brings a much-needed contribution of Black voices to Buddhist popular literature. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/08/2020
Release date: 12/08/2020
Genre: Religion
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