Not just for white folks

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Knotty Veneer
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Not just for white folks

Post by Knotty Veneer » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:41 pm

For a long time, it's true, Tibetan Buddhism outside of Asia (and in the West generally) has been - not incorrectly - labelled as very white and middle class. However, some teachers, are now working in Africa. Akong Rinpoche inspired centers in South Africa, Zimbabwe and the DRC from the 1980s but generally, Tibetan Dharma was hard to come by outside of South Africa.

I was very inspired today to read the following about Drupon Khen Rinpoche who has a special connection with Africa and has sponsored some Congolese children to train in his Thrangu Serkhar retreat center and monastery in Nepal. And wonderful to see so many African practitioners.

http://www.druponrinpoche.org/en/2019/1 ... to-africa/

Are there any other teachers working in Africa does anyone know?
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Simon E.
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Simon E. » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:53 pm

I don’t know the answer, but I wanted to say that the Dharma efforts made by Akong Rinpoche will be bearing fruit for many years in many locations. He was tireless in his work to establish Dharma.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

Knotty Veneer
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Knotty Veneer » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:58 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:53 pm
I don’t know the answer, but I wanted to say that the Dharma efforts made by Akong Rinpoche will be bearing fruit for many years in many locations. He was tireless in his work to establish Dharma.
Indeed. He achieved enough for several lifetimes. And that has reminded me that the video biography of Akong Rinpoche (Akong - A remarkable life) is available to rent on Vimeo. I'll post a link in the media forum.

I even appear very briefly in one of the retreat photographs from many years ago that are shown!
Don't let the President be worse than the problem.

Sādhaka
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Sādhaka » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:00 pm

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was going to do a Africa tour, and it was even posted on the Melong website for awhile; then, from what I understand, some obstacles arose that prevented it from happening.
Last edited by Sādhaka on Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Simon E.
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Simon E. » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:02 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:58 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:53 pm
I don’t know the answer, but I wanted to say that the Dharma efforts made by Akong Rinpoche will be bearing fruit for many years in many locations. He was tireless in his work to establish Dharma.
Indeed. He achieved enough for several lifetimes. And that has reminded me that the video biography of Akong Rinpoche (Akong - A remarkable life) is available to rent on Vimeo. I'll post a link in the media forum.

I even appear very briefly in one of the retreat photographs from many years ago that are shown!
:smile:
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

fckw
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by fckw » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:22 pm

That must sound quite exciting to the sanghas of very white middle class Western Buddhists! It might however sound not just so exciting to the established African Christian and Muslim communities.

Norwegian
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Norwegian » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:24 pm

fckw wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:22 pm
That must sound quite exciting to the sanghas of very white middle class Western Buddhists! It might however sound not just so exciting to the established African Christian and Muslim communities.
I think you must be extremely confused as to what sort of forum you're on. This is a Mahayana and Vajrayana forum. Not a multi-religion forum, not a Christian forum, not a Muslim forum.
"The Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Dharma,
The Guru is the Sangha too,
The Guru is Śrī Heruka.
The All-Creating King is the Guru."

-- The Secret Assembly Tantra

fckw
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by fckw » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:30 pm

@Norwegian: Well, I spent some time working for a NGO in Eastern Africa that was primarily Christian. (Already back then I practiced meditation seriously, I had no problem leaving Christianity to the Christians, and Islam to the Muslims.) So, my statement is purely informational. If you believe that the preachers, priests, clerics etc. from those African countries will enthusiastically welcome a new religion trying to gain followers among their ranks you might be in for a rather unpleasant surprise.

Norwegian
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Norwegian » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:53 pm

If someone has a genuine interest in the Buddhadharma, then that is everything that is needed. And one should really rejoice in that, whether the people are from Canada, Iceland, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Tanzania, or wherever it may be, instead of concerning oneself with what others may think about this, whether they're Christian, Muslim, or anything else.
"The Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Dharma,
The Guru is the Sangha too,
The Guru is Śrī Heruka.
The All-Creating King is the Guru."

-- The Secret Assembly Tantra

Knotty Veneer
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Knotty Veneer » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:32 am

fckw wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:22 pm
That must sound quite exciting to the sanghas of very white middle class Western Buddhists! It might however sound not just so exciting to the established African Christian and Muslim communities.
I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here. Christians and Muslims tend not to be excited when anybody finds truth in other faiths in Africa or anywhere else - it happens in any faith that believes its path is the only path.

Should folks in Africa just stick with the religion of their colonisers? Or should they have the same choices as the white Western middle classes? Maybe African Buddhists will have get a tough time from followers of other religions. That is not a reason not to make the Dharma available to them. I wouldn't doubt that it is the attempt to push fundamentalist religion down peoples throats in some countries is a factor in making some people turn towards Buddhism.
Don't let the President be worse than the problem.

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Harimoo
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Harimoo » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:51 am

In many parts of Asia, Buddhism is losing influence, mainly to Christianity; perhaps it will create an equilibrium.

Sādhaka
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Sādhaka » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:07 pm

Harimoo wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:51 am
In many parts of Asia, Buddhism is losing influence, mainly to Christianity; perhaps it will create an equilibrium.

If many Asians (who are generally conservative-leaving) could see the value of Vajrayāna, Yungdrung Bön, and Dzogchen.

And if people in general—including working-class conservatives and wealthy conservatives—could see that ‘Tibetan Buddhism’ is not only for so-called liberals, and proverbial hippies, sjw-types & bourgeois yuppies....

Malcolm
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:59 pm

The gods and demons of Africa are ready for Dharma. Why do I know this? Because when I was in South Africa I met with three Sangomas, and the head Sangoma went into trance, and greeted us approvingly when we explained the purpose of our visit was to promulgate Buddhadharma to those who were interested.

Knotty Veneer
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Knotty Veneer » Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:40 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:59 pm
The gods and demons of Africa are ready for Dharma. Why do I know this? Because when I was in South Africa I met with three Sangomas, and the head Sangoma went into trance, and greeted us approvingly when we explained the purpose of our visit was to promulgate Buddhadharma to those who were interested.
That's good to hear. I think there has been a problem in Africa where teachings were generally only requested by the affluent white middle classes. Poorer Africans did not have the funds to pay for teachers travel to speak to local groups. I'm glad to see that is changing - at least on a small scale and that teachers like Drupon Khen Rinpoche are willing to teach there knowing that there is little in the way of donations to his monastery to be had.

The prevalence of Islam and evangelical Christianity in Africa (as fckw alluded too) is no doubt a factor. I think culturally Muslim countries are difficult for any new religion to get a foothold in. People in evangelical Christian regions (just think of the southern USA) also tend not to be drawn to the Dharma in as big numbers as regions where less Fundamentalist religion is practiced.
Don't let the President be worse than the problem.

fckw
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by fckw » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:09 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:32 am
Should folks in Africa just stick with the religion of their colonisers? Or should they have the same choices as the white Western middle classes?
According to the Dalai Lama it's best if you stick to the religion into which you were born. So, if you take him seriously, then yes, they should stick with Islam or Christianity or whichever religion they were born into. (But I'm pretty sure he would agree that having free choice is even better than sticking to whatever.)

Besides that point, I really, really find above second question just so fascinating. It reveals so much about the thinking of white Western members of the middle class. This story: "We were the colonisers, now it's just fair and right if they get the same privilege to select their own religion as we can do ourselves." really keeps perpetuating the same old view on Africans being those underprivileged poor guys who need to be given some stuff (read: access to Buddhism) they themselves can not get easily even if they want to. Maybe, just maybe, rather than sending Buddhist teachers to Africa, countries in Asia and Europe and Americas could open their borders so that Africans can come to whichever place outside of Africa and stay and live (t)here in order to learn and practice Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Satanism or Atheism or whatever they have an inclination to?

On that tone, this is just so hilarious - it completely disassembles the post-colonialist view just criticized:


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Norwegian
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Norwegian » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:57 pm

fckw wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:09 pm
Knotty Veneer wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:32 am
Should folks in Africa just stick with the religion of their colonisers? Or should they have the same choices as the white Western middle classes?
According to the Dalai Lama it's best if you stick to the religion into which you were born. So, if you take him seriously, then yes, they should stick with Islam or Christianity or whichever religion they were born into.
Try reading a little closer:

Among millions of people, however, some will instinctively have an interest in Eastern religions, especially Buddhism. These people need to think carefully. If they find Buddhism more suitable to their own dispositions, then okay, it’s alright.

HHDL is not of the opinion that people who have a serious interest in Buddhadharma should never go for refuge and never enter the path. That is not his position and never has been.
"The Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Dharma,
The Guru is the Sangha too,
The Guru is Śrī Heruka.
The All-Creating King is the Guru."

-- The Secret Assembly Tantra

Malcolm
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:46 pm

fckw wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:09 pm

According to the Dalai Lama it's best if you stick to the religion into which you were born.
This is not an absolute dictate. He also states that those people with a compelling urge to become Buddhists are free to do so.

As for myself, I was raised in a secular household. So, you are suggesting I should not have adopted Dharma and just remained a materialist?

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PeterC
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by PeterC » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:21 am

fckw wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:09 pm
Knotty Veneer wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:32 am
Should folks in Africa just stick with the religion of their colonisers? Or should they have the same choices as the white Western middle classes?
According to the Dalai Lama it's best if you stick to the religion into which you were born. So, if you take him seriously, then yes, they should stick with Islam or Christianity or whichever religion they were born into. (But I'm pretty sure he would agree that having free choice is even better than sticking to whatever.)
HHDL is a political figure and needs to be careful about which toes he treads on as he navigates things like inter-faith conferences. There's a context to his comments. I'm sure he would never think that someone should choose to avoid the Dharma if they had the chance to practice it.

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Not just for white folks

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:43 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:59 pm
The gods and demons of Africa are ready for Dharma. Why do I know this? Because when I was in South Africa I met with three Sangomas, and the head Sangoma went into trance, and greeted us approvingly when we explained the purpose of our visit was to promulgate Buddhadharma to those who were interested.
some at least like the idea, that's cool.

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