Cultural Appropriation - Split from Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

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Malcolm
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Cultural Appropriation - Split from Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:06 pm

dharmapdx wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:48 pm
Another factor to take into account is that the political scene in this country is elitist and clique in all regards. I believe the term is “tribalism.” If it sounds odd that I, a white American male, basically have to keep my Buddhist practice to myself as a solitary and independent practitioner, keep in mind the draconianly-PC world we are living in now. I no longer wear my Buddhist beads — Juzu blessed by a Nichiren Shu priest — in public lest I be accused of “cultural appropriation” (I actually got dirty looks from an Asian woman for my beads), and the dirty/hostile look I got from a Hawaiian woman at an SGI meeting (when she saw that I have gongyo memorized, with correct accent to boot; she was trembling with rage) was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I simply don’t dare to try to participate in a Buddhist community anymore. Too traumatizing. My Buddhist practice is successful, but at this point it is virtually a secret practice.
There are only two kinds of problems: my problem and not my problem. The issues you list about are definitely not your problem. If you want to wear your māla, then you should. If you can recite Nicherin liturgy with a good accent, go for it. In Tibetan Buddhism, no one is accusing anyone of cultural appropriation, in fact Tibetans can't get westerns dressed up in Tibetan outfits and accouterments fast enough it seems. The Tibetans all think it is a great thing:

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:22 pm

Heh, I actually had someone tell me I should "ask an Indian person" before practicing Buddhism.

I actually went off lol, she didn't even know that Buddhism is no longer a major religion in India.

I don't make my practice a big public thing, but am totally up front about it any time someone asks, which they only really do if they know me, especially if they've seen my house. The idea that there is "cultural appropriation" of Buddhadharma is absolutely ridiculous, and only someone with zero real knowledge of Buddhism would think such a thing is an issue, frankly. That includes Asian people. If they are accusing someone of "culturally appropriating" something which has always been trans cultural in the first place, they should do more study and rectify their own ignorance about the origins of Buddhism.

Far as people int he sangha though, they are what they are.

One of my close Dharma friends said about the same thing yours did, his analogy was an emergency room. When you walk into an emergency room you only see the "before" picture, it's chaotic, messy, bloody etc., that is the state of most of us. If you can find a Dharma group that is mostly bereft of Drama, treasure it, because I don't think it's common.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Malcolm
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:35 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:22 pm
If they are accusing someone of "culturally appropriating" something which has always been trans cultural in the first place, they should do more study and rectify their own ignorance about the origins of Buddhism.
This.

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:47 pm

I actually think you should directly confront the "cultural appropriation" people in a Dharma context, rather than hiding behavior to avoid them.

In this context they are actually engaged in pretty serious wrong view and need to be rebuked. If it is too emotional then skip it, but it is a meritorious act in my estimation to correct mistaken views about the Dharma like that, and they are most definitely mistaken views. Only someone with a very lopsided understanding of Dharma (and likely very limited knowledge or study) would take something chanting in another language as somehow being "appropriative".
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:33 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:47 pm
In this context they are actually engaged in pretty serious wrong view and need to be rebuked.
In the Nichiren tradition they call that shakubuku. :smile:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Nemo » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:56 am

Doesn't cultural appropriation require the conquer and subordination of that culture? Indigenous North Americans would be a good example. But how can you culturally appropriate China? The arrogance of that idea is humourous. Han doing Tibetan dance at Disneyland style events would count. But we never conquered Tibetans. We helped them and gave them a voice.

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by PeterC » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:42 am

Nemo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:56 am
Doesn't cultural appropriation require the conquer and subordination of that culture? Indigenous North Americans would be a good example. But how can you culturally appropriate China? The arrogance of that idea is humourous. Han doing Tibetan dance at Disneyland style events would count. But we never conquered Tibetans. We helped them and gave them a voice.
Cultural appropriation is primarily a very modern north american fixation (though it does get mentioned a little in the UK, or USAlite as it will soon be rebranded). Most of the rest of the world really doesn't care about it. Frankly trying to figure out the nuances of modern grievance politics gives me a headache, so I don't bother.

Cultural appropriation has been going on for millenia. I'm not even sure how you could begin to analyze it in a Chinese context. For instance in the Qing, when Han Chinese were getting themselves adopted into Manchu banners for political reasons, and adopting Tibetan cultural practices that had been passed along to the Manchus from the Mongols (who had a long and complex history of interaction with the Tibetans) and mixed with the Jurchen aesthetics that the Manchus inherited, while second-generation Manchus were adopting Han lifestyle and dress - who is appropriating from who? There's absolutely no upside in trying to impose a modern moral judgement on any of that.

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:57 am

PeterC wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:42 am
Nemo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:56 am
Doesn't cultural appropriation require the conquer and subordination of that culture? Indigenous North Americans would be a good example. But how can you culturally appropriate China? The arrogance of that idea is humourous. Han doing Tibetan dance at Disneyland style events would count. But we never conquered Tibetans. We helped them and gave them a voice.
Cultural appropriation is primarily a very modern north american fixation (though it does get mentioned a little in the UK, or USAlite as it will soon be rebranded). Most of the rest of the world really doesn't care about it. Frankly trying to figure out the nuances of modern grievance politics gives me a headache, so I don't bother.

Cultural appropriation has been going on for millenia. I'm not even sure how you could begin to analyze it in a Chinese context. For instance in the Qing, when Han Chinese were getting themselves adopted into Manchu banners for political reasons, and adopting Tibetan cultural practices that had been passed along to the Manchus from the Mongols (who had a long and complex history of interaction with the Tibetans) and mixed with the Jurchen aesthetics that the Manchus inherited, while second-generation Manchus were adopting Han lifestyle and dress - who is appropriating from who? There's absolutely no upside in trying to impose a modern moral judgement on any of that.

One of my favorites is someone complaining about cultural appropriation of Banh Mi sandwiches, heh.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by PeterC » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:14 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:57 am

One of my favorites is someone complaining about cultural appropriation of Banh Mi sandwiches, heh.
That is ridiculous

Presumably the person complaining has never lived in either Vietnam or France?

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:55 am

PeterC wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:14 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:57 am

One of my favorites is someone complaining about cultural appropriation of Banh Mi sandwiches, heh.
That is ridiculous

Presumably the person complaining has never lived in either Vietnam or France?
I think they were under the impression that Banh Mi were somehow "purely" Vietnamese, like the Vietnamese had just randomly invented something exactly like a baguette... which is funny on a bunch of different levels.

Anyway, the people I know who care about cultural appropriation (and indeed, there are some valid examples of it here and there) all tend to be on the younger side, with views that...lack broadness I guess, to be kind. It's a real issue, but the places where it actually manifests never seem to be where people's attention is pointed.

Instead, they complain about (another real example) a food truck run by white people that sells Burritos. Seriously. People would laugh about that forever where I grew up, someone telling you you can't sell burritos because you're white...ridiculous.

A real example would be the co-option of Jewish traditions by Evangelical Christians, white folks in the Southwest sort of exploitatively flirting with native spirituality, etc.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:27 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:55 am

A real example would be the co-option of Jewish traditions by Evangelical Christians, white folks in the Southwest sort of exploitatively flirting with native spirituality, etc.
...or non-Europeans using forks...
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by PeterC » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:53 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:55 am
I think they were under the impression that Banh Mi were somehow "purely" Vietnamese, like the Vietnamese had just randomly invented something exactly like a baguette... which is funny on a bunch of different levels.
:rolling:
Though it is worth noting that for a long time, Vietnam was about the only country in Asia where you could get reasonably good baguettes. Whatever the hidden secrets of the black art of baguette baking are - and secrets they are - the french clearly passed them on. Whatever else they might or might not have done for that country.
Anyway, the people I know who care about cultural appropriation (and indeed, there are some valid examples of it here and there) all tend to be on the younger side, with views that...lack broadness I guess, to be kind. It's a real issue, but the places where it actually manifests never seem to be where people's attention is pointed.

Instead, they complain about (another real example) a food truck run by white people that sells Burritos. Seriously. People would laugh about that forever where I grew up, someone telling you you can't sell burritos because you're white...ridiculous.

A real example would be the co-option of Jewish traditions by Evangelical Christians, white folks in the Southwest sort of exploitatively flirting with native spirituality, etc.
Much could be said about the absurdity of these people's views. Maybe there's a serious point hiding underneath that. Why did the whole topic of identify politics become so important to that generation at that point in time? A few decades ago it was either a non-issue, or it was about civil rights. What changed about the world that made it so important for younger people to want to affirm and defend their group identify?

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:58 am

PeterC wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:53 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:55 am
I think they were under the impression that Banh Mi were somehow "purely" Vietnamese, like the Vietnamese had just randomly invented something exactly like a baguette... which is funny on a bunch of different levels.
:rolling:
Though it is worth noting that for a long time, Vietnam was about the only country in Asia where you could get reasonably good baguettes. Whatever the hidden secrets of the black art of baguette baking are - and secrets they are - the french clearly passed them on. Whatever else they might or might not have done for that country.
Anyway, the people I know who care about cultural appropriation (and indeed, there are some valid examples of it here and there) all tend to be on the younger side, with views that...lack broadness I guess, to be kind. It's a real issue, but the places where it actually manifests never seem to be where people's attention is pointed.

Instead, they complain about (another real example) a food truck run by white people that sells Burritos. Seriously. People would laugh about that forever where I grew up, someone telling you you can't sell burritos because you're white...ridiculous.

A real example would be the co-option of Jewish traditions by Evangelical Christians, white folks in the Southwest sort of exploitatively flirting with native spirituality, etc.
Much could be said about the absurdity of these people's views. Maybe there's a serious point hiding underneath that. Why did the whole topic of identify politics become so important to that generation at that point in time? A few decades ago it was either a non-issue, or it was about civil rights. What changed about the world that made it so important for younger people to want to affirm and defend their group identify?
IDK I think it's neoliberalism on some level, it has changed the categories people think in. That and the general fact that no one on the left knows what to do. So hey, why not "cancel" each other over nonsense. I mean most of the young people I know who are focused on this kind of thing conspicuously do not understand the notion of solidarity for instance, and have only the vaguest notion of how class might fit into all of this...it's just not in their political vocabulary at all. A white person can only support Black Lives Matter because it's their duty as guilty white people, not because they see anti-racism as a larger struggle, etc. It's very strange.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Dan74 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:01 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:58 am
PeterC wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:53 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:55 am
I think they were under the impression that Banh Mi were somehow "purely" Vietnamese, like the Vietnamese had just randomly invented something exactly like a baguette... which is funny on a bunch of different levels.
:rolling:
Though it is worth noting that for a long time, Vietnam was about the only country in Asia where you could get reasonably good baguettes. Whatever the hidden secrets of the black art of baguette baking are - and secrets they are - the french clearly passed them on. Whatever else they might or might not have done for that country.
Anyway, the people I know who care about cultural appropriation (and indeed, there are some valid examples of it here and there) all tend to be on the younger side, with views that...lack broadness I guess, to be kind. It's a real issue, but the places where it actually manifests never seem to be where people's attention is pointed.

Instead, they complain about (another real example) a food truck run by white people that sells Burritos. Seriously. People would laugh about that forever where I grew up, someone telling you you can't sell burritos because you're white...ridiculous.

A real example would be the co-option of Jewish traditions by Evangelical Christians, white folks in the Southwest sort of exploitatively flirting with native spirituality, etc.
Much could be said about the absurdity of these people's views. Maybe there's a serious point hiding underneath that. Why did the whole topic of identify politics become so important to that generation at that point in time? A few decades ago it was either a non-issue, or it was about civil rights. What changed about the world that made it so important for younger people to want to affirm and defend their group identify?
IDK I think it's neoliberalism on some level, it has changed the categories people think in. That and the general fact that no one on the left knows what to do. So hey, why not "cancel" each other over nonsense. I mean most of the young people I know who are focused on this kind of thing conspicuously do not understand the notion of solidarity for instance, and have only the vaguest notion of how class might fit into all of this...it's just not in their political vocabulary at all. A white person can only support Black Lives Matter because it's their duty as guilty white people, not because they see anti-racism as a larger struggle, etc. It's very strange.
This is a question that interests me a lot and the ideas above sound good, but there is more to the story, it seems to me. Is it that the cult of the individual, which in our times means the individual consumer, has triumphed and so we can only think in those categories? Cultural appropriation is akin to theft. "Keep your hands of my pie" becomes "keep your hands off my culture".

Even the endless obsession with gender/sexual identity and the ever growing list of letters, seems to me to correspond with branding. Wearing Nikes yesterday, becomes wearing one of your LGBT-QNB identities today. Not to dismiss the complexity of human sexuality and gender at all, I am just querying how it expresses itself in our modern culture. I mean young people cannot just be, they have to be someone. So I suggest that brand has replaced solidarity that you mentioned, JD. Though of course, solidarity isn't completely dead. Environmental movements and pockets where trade unions are still alive, prove that.

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by PeterC » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:54 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:58 am
IDK I think it's neoliberalism on some level, it has changed the categories people think in. That and the general fact that no one on the left knows what to do. So hey, why not "cancel" each other over nonsense. I mean most of the young people I know who are focused on this kind of thing conspicuously do not understand the notion of solidarity for instance, and have only the vaguest notion of how class might fit into all of this...it's just not in their political vocabulary at all. A white person can only support Black Lives Matter because it's their duty as guilty white people, not because they see anti-racism as a larger struggle, etc. It's very strange.
True. For all the talk of 'intersectionality' (which honestly I don't really understand), there doesn't seem to be much sense of a common cause: rather there seems to be a sense that each group's grievance is their exclusive property, and others are not entitled to have any opinion about it. But then again I might have romanticized notions of solidarity. The letter from Birmingham jail has harsh words on those lines.

I was at a lecture by Germaine Greer once (when I was young and foolish). During the Q&A, someone asked her - you have a lot to say about oppression of women in society, but how does that relate to oppression more broadly by the class system? Are you a socialist? She gave a rather blunt answer saying, feminism is a big enough issue, I don't have time to understand all the facets of socialism. A sizeable segment of the audience made their displeasure evident at that point. I wonder how that discussion would have gone down today. A disabled/PoC/trans/non-straight/immigrant/whatever feminist would have probably have denounced Greer because her white privilege prevents her from understanding the true nature of oppression, or something similar, rather than recognizing that they actually have a lot of common ground. Maybe that's it - the willingness to prioritize the differences over the commonalities in their causes?

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Re: Cultural Appropriation - Split from Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Mantrik » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:32 am

In the UK we only have appropriated religions, or those cobbled together by fantasy role play folk.

Appropriation is not MISappropriation yet recently the two terms have been conflated. Any disrespectful appropriation is always MISappropriation.

How long, I wonder, does a religion have to be practised to become 'indigenous' (which means 'belonging to a place' not 'ethnic')?

Plenty of Christians around, and almost all have 'appropriated' it from a foreign culture - long ago, but it still counts, surely.

I do laugh when Christians ask me why I am following a foreign religion without a scintilla of irony .
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Re: Cultural Appropriation - Split from Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Shiva » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:57 am

There are no pure cultures anymore. All around the globe cultures are mixed in one way or another. Societies have always worked that way and there is nothing wrong about it. That diffusionism (now called cultural appropriation by bad social scientists and left-wing politicians and supporters) is perfectly natural, has been, is and will always be in that way.

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Re: Cultural Appropriation - Split from Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Simon E. » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:01 am

The only appropriation I have seen is from those pesky Tibetans declaring whole tracts of White Countries to be Dharma realms.
Some nerve. It’s geographical appropriation.

I floated that a while back and noone thought it was funny so I thought maybe it’s time might have come.
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Re: Cultural Appropriation - Split from Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Mantrik » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:38 am

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:01 am
The only appropriation I have seen is from those pesky Tibetans declaring whole tracts of White Countries to be Dharma realms.
Some nerve. It’s geographical appropriation.

I floated that a while back and noone thought it was funny so I thought maybe it’s time might have come.
They just annnexed Wales apparently. They've already got Scotland so Tibrexit is complete !
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Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: Cultural Appropriation - Split from Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Simon E. » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:02 pm

They took London some time ago...
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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