Not Your Normal Buddhist Conference

Today begins the Buddhist Geeks Conference with the fewest ever number of Asian American speakers in its lineup. I have already pointed out that the conference tends to be overwhelmingly white and that Buddhist Asians don’t appear to play much of a role in what the Geeks deem to be the emerging faces of Buddhism. The speakers’ photo roster naturally tells the story better than I possibly could…

You can catch a livestream of the Buddhist Geeks Conference at Tricycle, which coincidentally has the same number of Asian Americans among its editors as Buddhist Geeks has among its conference speakers. Fancy that!

Discover the Emerging Faces of Buddhism (Are Mostly White)

I lost track of time and only just realized that the Buddhist Geeks conference is already under way. You can live stream the conference, and if you do, let me know if you find more Asian Buddhists than I did…

As I said last year, a picture is worth a thousand words. For a conference that brandishes the tagline “discover the emerging faces of Buddhism,” I’m a bit amused at how white-centric the line up remains.

The Emerging Face of Buddhism

recent post by Barbara O’Brien pointed me to a great article by Jane Iwamura, “On Asian Religions without Asians.” A commenter asked O’Brien for her related thoughts on the upcoming Buddhist Geeks conference. In her response, O’Brien mused, “And are there any Asians at all in the line-up? It’s almost Exhibit A of what Jane Iwamura is talking about.” I had to check it out for myself.

You may not have heard of this conference, but it’s a pretty well-publicized event in the Buddhist blogosphere. As the organizers describe it:

Taking place July 29th – 31st, 2011 in Los Angeles, Buddhist Geeks | The Conference brings together some of the most exciting teachers, leaders and thinkers from the US and beyond as Buddhist Geeks continues its ongoing mission to discover the emerging face of Buddhism. With a vibrant program of presentations, workshops, performance and participant-led elements and its inclusive non-denominational attitude, #bgeeks11 will be the most innovative, energetic and relevant event in the Buddhist world. We would love you to join us.

Following up on O’Brien’s comments, I went to the Buddhist Geeks conference page and pasted the photos together into a composite graphic, not unlike the one in this post from over two years agoVoilà.

A picture is worth a thousand words, I’m told, and hopefully at least this one is. I’ll be in transit for the next twelve hours, and I’m going to be too jet-lagged and sleep-deprived for a more eloquent post.

There you have it: the emerging face of Buddhism (conditions and restrictions apply)!