Race as Karma

Over on Drums of Dharma, GK Sandoval discusses topical issues from the perspective of karma.

From a Dharma perspective, it has nothing to do with race or anything else. It all has to do with seeds of karma ripening in this lifetime.

Reading these words, I remember a certain article by David Loy

The other problem is that karma has long been used to rationalize racism, caste, economic oppression, birth handicaps, and so forth. Taken literally, karma justifies both the authority of political elites, who therefore must deserve their wealth and power, and the subordination of those who have neither. It provides the perfect theodicy: if there is an infallible cause-and-effect relationship between one’s actions and one’s fate, there is no need to work toward social justice, because it’s already built into the moral fabric of the universe. In fact, if there is no undeserved suffering, there is really no evil that we need to struggle against. You were born crippled, or to a poor family? Well, who but you is responsible for that?

But I doubt that Loy’s rhetoric conveys the precise sentiments that GK is trying to promote. A topic worth more discussion, but I’m trying to keep these posts short.

Many Layers of Buddhism

Just a short story on a Florida robbery that caught my eye.

Whoever stole the Buddha head from a Boca Raton restaurant better know something: Bad karma is coming … That’s the sentiment of theft victim Zack Gardner, a native of Vietnam and a Buddhist who owns Saba restaurant in the 400 block of South Federal Highway. The 150-pound, four-foot-tall cement head was stolen sometime Sunday night from its spot in front of the restaurant … When the statue was stolen, Gardner called his sister, a Buddhist nun in Vietnam. She told him not to be upset and that things happen for a reason.

What drew me to this article was the panoply of “Buddhism” in this short piece, touching on the philosophical, familial, symbolic, sacred and institutional. It’s a snapshot of life interwoven with Buddhism, and not necessarily entangled in it. I hope Zack Gardner also gets his Buddha back.