Racism and Buddhistm

Much thanks for your kindness. :anjal:

Yep, that’s exactly how I feel, too.

Again, my thanks.


The eye is burning, the tounge is burning …

“desire is a liar”

  • Ajahn Amaro

Although apt for cultures that value intellect, this assertion does not translate well for cultures that value passion and feeling. It is actually problematic. It is problematic in that it generates instant conflict with a core value of “true feeling” vs. “false feeling”. When one desires to give from the heart to all beings, that true compassionate feeling smacks head-on into “liar” and leads to mutual rejection.

Right speech in one country is wrong speech in another.

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What is a bit problematic for all is that the truth has a sadness to it.


Carlitos and Luisito sat down to talk about this and that and many things.

And then there was a quiet filled with a great sadness.

Latin America is burning.

I used to play on the beach in Venezuela as a child. My family was welcomed in that country. Mi casa, su casa. My house, your house. This is how it is in Latin America. This is their heart.

Now Latin America is burning.

And they wander north in hope. To die on the way. Just die. Here and there. A slow march of death and despair. Coming north they hope and hope. And see a wall. A tall wall. And they hear. This is my house, not your house. Away! Mi casa, no su casa. Afuera!

And that is what is happening now.

Carlitos and Luisito sat together in silence and both thought it a very sad day.



And on the other side, one has been working with refugees, both minor and grown ups, and it is both astonishing how little significanse a meal and roof over the head is when it can be changed for an iphone and a pair of flashy jeans, and the rest of our bad habits is learned in a second, and before one knows, - here is a new member of our clan, and he or she became us in just one second.

Later on, we sit down and observe these so called “refugees”, and wonder about what’s wrong with them, and that we should never had let them in to our version of the world. We might also contemplate that integration is not difficult at all, because all of these splendid people became as big an idiot as my self, and it didn’t hurt at all - so why am i angry and frustrated … don’t know, let’s have a drink! :slight_smile:


A friend is in suffering . Cold shoulder is universal language . Kindness and compassion is easier to study than put in practise . Dhamma knowledge is not helping instead rejecting . Negation Shunning is not the middle path . Offer support , tenderness tolerances is what the people lacks . Rigidity yield not commendation . Conforming rigidly quitting the merits .

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Yes. That is the saddest thought of all, that we let craving define us.:heart::pray:

Coming from a culture that actually has a much more aggressive tradition of public discourse than it is the case in the Anglo-Saxon world and (yet again) being in the middle of an existential crisis myself, I understand why Luis got frustrated and I see how his anger, aggression, and anguish came about. And still, they are anger, aggression, and anguish.

“He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

I don’t want to say one party was completely blameless and the other was completely at fault. To ignore Luis’ original question by doubting whether he was correct in his opinion is both disrespectful and unmindful. At the same time, failing to see your own anger for what it is is hardly any better.

The Buddha’s path is not only a path to freedom and happiness, it is also a path of discipline, self-restraint, and self-analysis. The need for harmonial, non-aggressive discourse is deeply ingrained into the traditional Buddhist cultures. I remember a story I heard from a Russian Christian missionary living in Thailand that his Thai driver just stopped and left their car in the middle of a busy Bangkok highway, after the missionary as much as raised his voice at him for careless driving.

Sometimes this need degenerates into a mere smalltalk-like exchange of social niceties, into the overwhelming fear of losing face. Nonetheless, lived out as it was intended, this culture of mutual respect and self-restraint means that we listen to people talking to us, asking us question, and if something is not to our liking we do not leave slam shutting the door. Even if something in our conversation does not go down the way we expected it we can always follow the example of Upaka, the Naked Ascetic, who said after his encounter with the recently awakened Buddha:

When this had been said, Upaka, the Naked Ascetic, having said, “It may be (so), your reverence,” having shaken his head, went off taking a different road.


Just my opinion…

Racism is defined as the belief in the superiority of one race over another, which often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

The Nazi ideology which based on antisemitism racist led to the genocide of about six million European Jews and also several other races during World War II, a very dangerous ideology.

Perhaps…, we might be able to cancel out or paralyze this racist ideology by a counter-narratives that, ethnicity, or race is ‘EMPTY’, in the sense that ethnicity, or race is not something ‘absolute’, but rather an ‘illusory’. Because in the concept of ‘rebirth’, it’s very possible that one entity of life can change their ethnicity or their race from one life to another life. So…, there’s nothing permanent, right ?.

What’s more…, the mother nature itself shows us that the ideology of racism is truly wrong, because there are very unique cases about some parents who give birth to twins whose skin color is even different from each other. What is the cause of it ?, is it the genetic factors or previous life’s karma ?, whatever it is…, what is clear is that facts like this can overturn the ideology of racism, which considers that a particular race from the beginning of time has been separated and superior to other races…

Thank you :smile::smile::smile:


Good points. The Buddha proposed a positive discrimination as well:

Not by matted hair,
by clan, or by birth,
is one a brahman.
Whoever has truth
& rectitude:
he is a pure one,
he, a brahman.

I don’t call one a brahman
for being born of a mother
or sprung from a womb.
He’s called a ‘bho-sayer’
if he has anything at all.
But someone with nothing,
who clings to no thing:
he’s what I call
a brahman. SuttaCentral

with metta


With all due respect, I wouldn’t call that positive discrimination. I think I would rather call it meritocracy.

Positive discrimination we hire or hold a person in higher regard than others not because they are better, smarter, purer but rather because they are women, belong to ethnic minorities, etc. All of these things are hardly signs of particular skilfulness or merit on that person’s part, which is why it is called positive discrimination.

Admitting that someone is a better, nobler person than us because of their truthfulness and high moral standard is meritocratic in nature.

Sorry for this nitpicky comment, I just didn’t want this nice idea of yours to be potentially hijacked in the name of true positive discrimination, something that I personally am very much against :grinning:


Oh ok then! :wink:


And yet, even the Buddha employed positive discrimination in at least one instance I can think of:

When he allowed Bhikkuni ordination to take place via messenger, so that nuns didn’t need to undertake potentially hazardous travel, he was employing a form of positive discrimination. I’m unsure of the details but I’m sure this can be verified by anyone knowledgeable of the Bhikkhuni Vinaya.

To me, positive discrimination comes to be of value when it seeks to acknowledge an unfair, difficult to surmount, disadvantage and also acknowledges the presence of harmful prejudice.

Sometimes negative historical events - or long term practices - are so culture defining that they impact society on many levels. The influence of trauma can be unseen and viewed as normal for generations. When it is seen for what it is, then it can contribute to a fairer meritocracy - one with less glass ceilings.

Where I live, it’s not perfect by any means, and some disagree with it’s employment; but if you’re part of the original indigineous peoples, and thus your culture and family life have been severely impacted by massacres, new diseases, hopelessness and a variety of problems which now contribute to a wider prejudice in society - you’re given extra help in securing a job; that is if you can also stir yourself enough to seek this help and prove yourself worthy within the general prevailing meritocratic structure as well…

But like with any compassionate ideal, it too can be misused by us clever humans!


Very true.

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I mean this question humbly with only a desire to learn. But what other kinds of discourse are suitable in discussion of EBT’s? With Metta :thinking:

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I will hazard a lay answer, so please be skeptical of what follows. :pray:

In the practice of meditation, we follow a progression described in MN10, which starts with body, proceeds through feeling and thence to thought. Notably, feeling precedes thought in the progression. Feeling is dealt with before thought. In discussion, we talk about both feeling and thought. By inference, in our discussions with others, we should first reach agreement of feeling before attempting agreement of thought. If a loved one approaches us in anger, do we say, “Go away and we can talk when you are rational?” Or do we say, “I see anger. How do you feel?”

While discussing EBT’s with long term meditators, feelings have generally sorted themselves out and we can proceed fruitfully to discourse on thoughts. What we are essentially doing is asking each other for help in piercing the dukkha of delusion. Yet even so, when we are asked to discuss a matter drenched in great feeling, we cannot jump immediately beyond that feeling to any talk of remedy. Our first duty is to see the feeling (“I feel a painful feeling MN10”). Only when feeling is acknowledged and dissipates overall do we pass on to mindfulness of thought.

The matter is complicated by culture. In the west we value the intellectual–we literally pay them more. We also value feeling–and we pay certain actors well. Other cultures place different emphasis on clarity of mind vs. heart. In Latin America it is a very very deep insult to not acknowledge a feeling, especially one of compassion and concern. People who do so are held in lowest contempt as not worthy of being considered human. They literally have no worth due to their lack of feeling. My father was a US diplomat. We were posted to Venezuela and Mexico representing the USA to these countries. Diplomacy revolves around mutual respect. And in Latin America, feelings are to be respected. Feelings must be acknowledged and respected for their danger. Ignored feelings are explosive. Our family car was torched and burned in Venezuela because it represented USA. This is the danger of not respecting feeling.