Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation (Hardcover)

Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation By Rima Vesely-Flad Cover Image
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Explores how Black Buddhist Teachers and Practitioners interpret Western Buddhism in unique spiritual and communal ways

In Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition, Rima Vesely-Flad examines the distinctive features of Black-identifying Buddhist practitioners, arguing that Black Buddhists interpret Buddhist teachings in ways that are congruent with Black radical thought. Indeed, the volume makes the case that given their experiences with racism-both in the larger society and also within largely white-oriented Buddhist organizations-Black cultural frameworks are necessary for illuminating the Buddha's wisdom.

Drawing on interviews with forty Black Buddhist teachers and practitioners, Vesely-Flad argues that Buddhist teachings, through their focus on healing intergenerational trauma, provide a vitally important foundation for achieving Black liberation. She shows that Buddhist teachings as practiced by Black Americans emphasize different aspects of the religion than do those in white convert Buddhist communities, focusing more on devotional practices to ancestors and community uplift.

The book includes discussions of the Black Power movement, the Black feminist movement, and the Black prophetic tradition. It also offers a nuanced discussion of how the Black body, which has historically been reviled, is claimed as a vehicle for liberation. In so doing, the book explores the experiences of non-binary, gender non-conforming, and transgender practitioners of African descent are validated within the tradition. The book also uplifts the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer Black Buddhists. This unique volume shows the importance of Black Buddhist teachers' insights into Buddhist wisdom, and how they align Buddhism with Black radical teachings, helping to pull Buddhism away from dominant white cultural norms.

About the Author

Rima Vesely-Flad, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy and the Director of Peace and Justice Studies at Warren Wilson College. She is the author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781479810482
ISBN-10: 1479810487
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication Date: April 5th, 2022
Pages: 344
Language: English