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Chenxing Han. Image courtesy Chenxing Han
A Different View of American Buddhism
May 13, 2021
The spiritual journey of activist and author Chenxing Han led to one persistent question: "Where are all the Asian-American Buddhists in American Buddhism?"
Chenxing Han. Image courtesy Chenxing Han
A Different View of American Buddhism May 13, 2021
49 days after the mass murder in the Atlanta region of 8 people, the spike in anti-Asian violence targeting individuals and Buddhist temples continues. To Chenxing Han, this wave of anti-Asian sentiment is part of a legacy that has shaped the ways American Buddhism has adapted over two centuries and the way it is portrayed.  Too often, Han explains, the face of the tradition in America is not representative of the adherents but dominated by the white converts.  In part one, she describes how she set out to offer a wider lens with her first book — which is both a collection of interviews and a memoir — Be the Refuge.  

Then: Having survived Mao’s cultural revolution, Chenxing Han’s parents were skeptical of religion. The author and activist reflects on her travels and journey across Asia where she encountered the various permutations of Buddhism in both the sanghas (faith communities) and on the streets.  Describing her conversation less as a moment but a gradual process, akin to slowly steeping tea. 

Finally: Han reflects on the teachings of Buddhism that guide her through encounters with suffering, isolation, and grief.  From impermanence to suffering, Han talks about the universal condition of grief in this pandemic and the need for self-care.  She reflects on the importance of building spiritual friendships and offers suggestions to those seeking to engage Buddhists into multi-faith alliances.  Han invites listeners to imagine being the guest instead of the host.

Chenxing Han, Author of Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists. She holds an MA in Buddhist Studies from the Graduate Theological Union, and studied chaplaincy at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley,

You can listen to the entire memorial excerpted at the beginning of the show - May We Gather: A National Buddhist Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors - on Youtube.

Be The Refuge
Be The Refuge
Penguin Random House

Our theme Breath Deep is copyright MC Yogi.
Our closing music this week is a Dissimilation Heavy Industries remix of the song
New Hope by Audiobinger, shared under a
Creative Commons, By Attribution 4.0 license

All other music by Blue Dot Sessions