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Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace (Compass)

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Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearless and Grace

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Thank you for subscribing! Please check your email to confirm your subscription. Our Stores. Gunakan Penapis Padamkan Penapis Kategori. Thus far no high-profile white lama, guru, or sensei with established financial resources and pedagogic influence has chosen a black dharma heir.

Positioned somewhere between philosophy, religion, and psychotherapy, Buddhist practice can be very slow and difficult going. Depending on the school or style of practice you choose, there can be mantras to memorize, mudras to learn, and complex mental pictures to visualize. Not to mention the demanding discipline of sitting-meditation, which leads to a depth of introspection that can be by turns painful, tedious, or exhilarating.

BLS 364: Mystics in America

Choosing among a plethora of schools and styles--from the austere rigor of Zen to the straightforward efficacy of Vipassana to the seductive complexity of Tibetan tantra--highly motivated black female Buddhists instinctively develop syncretic meditation exercises prompted by the same impulse that made black pianists turn classical music into ragtime.

Willis has been teaching Tibetan visualization techniques to inmates of the all-female York Correctional Institute and has found them as eager and able to benefit from these empowering tools as anyone--anointed or otherwise.

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So I take it to places where it wouldn't ordinarily go. Williams adores her teacher and her sangha , but feels neither can adequately support her desire to spread the dharma into the black community. Written in the unpretentious, conversational tone black people tend to use among themselves, Being Black is no more informal or "irreverent" than many books white Buddhists write to attract new people to the religion.

Yet little things like Williams's calling the "Four Noble Truths" the "Four Simple Truths" to minimize the aura of elitism that hovers around an archaic term like "noble" in the 21st century makes conservative elements within American Buddhism reject her presentation as heretical. Many Buddhist bookstores have already refused to stock it, claiming "it's a black book, it's not a Buddhist book. She feels a strong connection to both and would love to use Buddhism's profoundly anti-elitist, anti-authoritarian, and antisectarian essence to revitalize black political activism in this country.

By slowly eliminating our need to be externally defined.

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Nevertheless "black dharma"--for lack of a more descriptive term--is emerging from black practitioners whether the white Western Buddhist hegemony is ready or not. Willis managed to sidestep the sense of alienation some black students have experienced with white teachers--or even with white-identified Asian teachers--by learning Sanskrit and Tibetan, then studying Buddhism with male Tibetan teachers in India and Nepal.

Her memoir, Dreaming Me Riverhead Books , centers around her "Baptist-Buddhist" conversion and chronicles Willis's hegira from her working-class origins in a KKK-plagued Alabama mining town, to a collegiate flirtation with the Black Panther Party, to her year-long discipleship under a Tibetan lama. It is a contemporary namthar "inspirational parable of enlightenment" that is no less "Buddhist" for its black American context.