How We Brought/Are North American Buddhism — Past & Present Asian American Perspectives


How We Brought/Are North American Buddhism: Past & Present Asian American Perspectives 

As  stated in the About page (and “C” post), my main aims in starting a sitting group and this website was to provide a venue that is more inclusive than mainstream, convert take on Buddhism in North America. As such, it seems appropriate to offer an opportunity to study and explore  how Asian Americans brought and are part of Buddhism in North America.

For the months of April – June of 2015,** the class will focus on both historical and contemporary take on the different Asian countries’ peoples arrivals to North America and how Buddhism came with them and/or are being practiced now. These stories may range from stories of a great-grandparent’s immigration during the mid-1900’s to struggles and challenges as today’s practitioners try to integrate more traditional forms with current ways of practicing as available to them by mainstream centers.

While older, the best book I know of a survey of this topic is Faces of Buddhism in America, ed. by Charles Prebish and Kenneth Tanaka; so we will start that. Additionally, we’ll use Joseph Cheah’s Race and Religion in American Buddhism, Rev. Ryumon Hilda Gutierez Baldoquin’s edited Dharma, Color, and Culture, and Making the Invisible Visible (available under “Teachings” tab).

As one of the founders of the Buddhists of Color (now “just” a list-serve but it was one of the few POC sitting groups in the the U.S. in 1998), I will also be asking for input from people via that venue as well as other Asian American practitioners I know; such as:

Minal Hajratwala
Patricia Y. Ikeda (Mushim)

My hope is that the series will be about reclaiming his-, her- & they-stories as well as adding current voices to our exploration.

This Series’ Format:*
30 minutes of Zazen/Meditation
20-30  Presentation of an ethnic/cultural group’s experiences via the books mentioned and additional information from various sources.
Note: I will do the 1st week’s Introductions and then, with each succeeding week, a sangha member(s) will be invited to read, reflect, explore additional materials, and then present it at the next meeting.
(ie: Starting with the texts from the above named sources and then bringing in other texts/media.)
20-30 Discussion and Dedication of Merit

As such, my sense is that this class series will be a combination of a broad survey of each ethnic group’s Buddhist history to North America and then more varied in format for the personal or small-group practice experiences/reflections.

All who are open to hearing from voices outside of the mainstream are welcomed. Come learn with us past and present experiences of Asian-American Buddhist practitioners.

For access to the video of the Dharma talk and discussions from each class, go to the “Sitting Group” tab above and look for further drop-down window options under this class series.

Mondays:  April 6 June 29   (YES, we extended it thru June due to popular demand as well as the large breath of AA practices!)
** no meeting 5/11 due to Sangha Week (nor 5/25 for Memorial Day)
7:30 – 9 p.m.
308 Page Street, SFZC Conference Center

* Drop-in welcome (most A2Z classes are open to all at any time!)

A2Z is a self-supporting, rent-paying group so your practice of Dana (the Pali word for “generosity” or “freely giving”) is appreciated. Suggested dana is $15 – 20 per class 
No one is ever turned away for lack of funds so please join us!

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where the path is available to all