Image is everything, and unless we figure out a way to make the image of the Buddha hip and cool, we’d be better off figuring out some other way to present the techniques without the awesome smiling face of our Eastern inspiration.
Bless his non-soul for proposing a sincere and unequivocal argument for whitewashing Buddhism. He has no compunction whatsoever about smugly proclaiming that Buddhism in America is far better off if only we can ditch the Asian guy. And he is like a gift that keeps on giving, except that I really don’t care for this narishkeyt…
Buddhism in America is at the long end of the initial boom sparked in the 60’s among intellectuals and artists who craved that elite connection with the east.
With a single sentence, he dons the hat of a historical revisionist and wipes American Buddhist history clean of its Asian affliction. The author disregards the basic fact that Buddhism in America enjoys an unbroken history that stretches back over 100 years. For all those years, it is Asian Americans who have constituted the outright numerical majority of Buddhist Americans—even today, we are still the majority. Plain and simple, Buddhism in America wouldn’t be half of what it is without its Asian American members, and for Jerry Kolber to patently neglect our contributions with utter impunity smacks entirely of excessive hegemonic privilege.