August 24, 2011

Diversity at the Buddhist Teachers Council

A recent Tricycle blog post on diversity caught my attention. The magazine asked some participants of the recent 2011 Buddhist Teachers Council the following question about unity amid diversity:

Buddhism is very diverse—some would even say that the different traditions represent different religions. What was the common Buddhist thread that brought you all together?”

And here are the responses of two Asian American participants.

I came seeking unity in the Three Treasures. I was disappointed to find that the “mindful” community remains unable to bridge the gap of diversity; and further, that this vital necessity is not a primary concern.
—Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin, Myoken Temple

What brought us together probably has something to do with the Buddha’s saying “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” It has such a universal calling. However, while “Buddhism” may be diverse, “Buddhist” communities in the West do not yet reflect the diversity of our multicultural experiences.
—Larry Yang, East Bay Meditation Center

I am very glad that Tricycle included us in their list, and that these thoughts were shared. For all my grumblings over diversity at the Buddhist Teachers Council, I’m inclined to think of the conference as a positive success. Diversity was certainly not prominent, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say the conference was an abject failure on this front. More on that thought in another post.

You can read other responses to this question in the current issue of Tricycle. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s is one of my favorites.

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for bringing this to light. I'm sure you're not the first to observe that the name "2011 Buddhist Teachers Council" might suggest a kind of inclusiveness that, as far as I know, doesn't exist (yet) in American Buddhism, but it certainly doesn't hurt to say it.