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Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation
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Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Igniting a long-overdue dialogue about how the legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays out in society at large and Buddhist communities in particular, this urgent call to action outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening.

The authors traveled around the country to spark an open conversation
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by North Atlantic Books
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Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Writers of color challenge #8

Hey White People! pay attention.

The three Black Queer Buddhist authors of this book present the idea that the steps toward eliminating racism in our culture involve a deeper understanding of ourselves. When we understand our own suffering, we can connect with that of others.

I'm not Buddhist, I'm no scholar, I went to a few Dharma classes in Seattle about 10 years ago and I read on and off and I meditate on and off (but mainly off). This book was still approachable to
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
please read this book
Rachel Lewis
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
On the one hand: profound and important. On the other hand: certain sections have so many neologisms/errors, mixed metaphors, and rapid changes of register that they're almost unreadable. Don't read this for the prose style but do read it.
Janet Nash
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was breathtaking and challenging. I struggle as someone who identifies as Buddhist because I also feel I need to be active and stand up for social justice issues. I've loved and respected Elie Wiesel and his books, especially "Night." In his life, post-Holocaust, he said that we have to take sides, and that it was those who turned a blind eye to the horrors of World War II that contributed to sustaining it for so long. In today's world, I feel that same need to stand up when politician ...more
Patrick Taylor
I thought this book gave some really valuable insights into how queer and female people of color experience buddhism. I really enjoyed the emphasis on being ok with discomfort and the messiness of tackling issues of racism.

Two things bothered me about this book. One was how jargony so much of it was. It was full of activist jargon, to the extent that it was hard to understand what they were actually talking about. That's my personal issue, and one you may not care about.

The other issue I had is
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wow, wow, wow.

I took so many notes over the course of this read, found myself in deep internal conversation, and wanted to scream about it from the rooftops to everyone I know. In this book, co-authors Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Jasmine Syedullah Ph.D., and Lama Rod Owens offer touching, powerful words on the path to liberation. The words come from open, compassionate, honest dialogue among themselves and the people who came to engage with them in these public spheres so it reads very easily an
Monica L Edwards
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I struggled at times with the writing—three authors and three different voices, plus formal writing shifts to conversation transcripts. But, I love how this book made me think, and feel challenged.
Zaynab Shahar
An enthralling read from start to finish. A long overdue book on so many levels. The three authors bring the black prophetic fire into conversation with their practices as black Buddhists and Buddhist communities. They demonstrate how black religiosity is inherently interspiritual, organically multi-religious, rarely does it exist in the vacuum that western conceptions of monotheism/polytheism/deism attempt to stratify non-western religions. They bring their church upbringings, their mosque upbr ...more
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I listened to Rev. angel's interview on Buddhist Geeks I knew I needed to read this book. I was not disappointed. I was surprised though - I had this preconceived notion that this book was going to have "kumbaya" vibes. I was stripped of those notions almost immediately. This book is about Love - not Hallmark(tm) love, but fierce, genuine love. I am definitely going to be getting a copy for myself.
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing. Inspiring and informative. Read it.
Sister Ocean
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So needed, so loving, so true.
Jer Clarke
Dec 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a very valuable book to read, and I’m glad I got through it, but it wasn’t easy. There’s a lot of very deep wisdom embedded in the discussions and essays that make up this book, things I’ve been trying to think about but which are elusive when you’re on your own. The authors share a deep wisdom and experience of the issues of race and identity and their intersection with Buddhism that is impressive and intimidating.

It was disturbing in many ways to read the descriptions of racism and i
Casey Phillips
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I finished this today.

Over the last year I have been on a search of how to fight for justice with grace and love

So, I turned to Buddhists, among others, to see how they balance justice and love and change and healing. I borrowed the book "Radical Dharma" written by three People of Color dialoguing about these very things. The chapter It's Not About Love After All really spoke to me. Rev. angel Kyodo williams encourages us to liberate ourselves in every way, so that we can connect with liberating
C.E. G
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars, and it probably would have been 5 if I'd read it back when I was more interested and able to engage with Western Buddhism. Written by 3 queer Black buddhists, this feels like an answer to what I wondered was missing from the teachers and spaces I found when I meditated from 2013-2015ish. The first half of the book was OK, but I completely loved the transcriptions of their dialogues in the second half of the book. They noted that because white people were the ones to bring Buddhism to ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: existential
A heartfelt message: When one group of people is beaten down or devalued, that hurts everyone, including the people who are supposed to be "on top" and benefiting from that system. The people in the privileged position need to realize how their own options and possibilities are constrained when others around them are obstructed and their gifts are hidden. Anyone who realizes how they're being hurt needs to "interrupt" narratives and behaviors that reinforce the collective dysfunction because if ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, woc-writers
I'm so happy I came across this book. While I'm not sure I agree with everything in it, it does ignite a conversation that (in my opinion) has been sorely missing from many Buddhist communities. Specifically, the book is unwavering and unapologetic in its focus on how Buddhism can provide us the tools to dismantle harmful power structures and racial hierarchies. In fact, to read this book is to imagine that personal and social liberation are inextricably intertwined, and that personal enlightenm ...more
Lily Jamaludin
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a needed book! The authors do such thought-provoking, beautiful, and yes, radical work in envisioning a new America. I think it equips activists with a new spiritual language to energise your anti-oppression and liberation work. I particularly enjoyed the chapters where the authors provided their own testimonies of transforming their own racial/sexual/gender wounds. There was a wonderful moment in one of the chapters where a white man who is a self-proclaimed former racist describes how his ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is one that every Buddhist and maybe every spiritual person should read. Everyone who is concerned about race should read it. I've heard Rev angel speak and she is even more profound in person. I have heard a Lama Rod talk too and have much respect for him. What they talk about applies to all of us but especially to people of color. If we want to heal then we need to read this book and think about the kinds of places we create and how we can all be liberated. As Rev angel says not libe ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yogi
Yes! Let's talk about it! How do we handle race in the spiritual world? It exists and we can't pretend that because we are the enlightened ones that it does not. Yes, to everything Radical Dharma is bringing to light. The questions that are tackled. The conversations between attendees of their talks. Radical Dharma is encouraging us to dig deeply into ourselves and understand the roots of our oppressions.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is galvanising. Reading it was more effective than drinking a cup of coffee for me. I am energised, enthused, empowered by these teachings. Finally, teachers who speak to my longing to be a bodhisattva in everything I do, who offer guidance and a framework for how to live the Dharma for the liberation of ALL beings.

This book is profound and timely. This is Dharma for anyone who has moved from "I am suffering" to "There is suffering" and has a longing to be of benefit.
Julie  Capell
Fascinating essays and conversations between and among people of many different intersectionalities about how Dharma (Buddhism, mindfulness, Eastern religious practices) can be helpful in combating racism and implicit bias. Much of the book is aimed squarely at readers of color, but there is much in here that can be helpful to white people who are interested in examining their implicit biases and using mindfulness practices to change.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book seemed like transcripts of live talks ??
Maybe it was -and I missed the explanation.
Buddhism and how it related to Social Justice POC the LGBT community-
these are (in my limited experience) rarely discussed topics.

I liked and totally agree with notion of Justice FOR ALL or there is NO JUSTICE

Good read - especially if you enjoy studying Buddhism and Social Justice.
Jennifer Green
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An important read for all. Read it, engage and become part of the change.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one bent my brain a little bit. Much is super academic, some is tear jerkingly poignant and earth shattering. Lots to think about.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is exactly what I needed. I found this to be a very helpful book about how we can apply Buddhist principles and use engaged Buddhist practice to work toward collective liberation.
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent starting point about intersectionality in the Buddhist faith.
Barry Cochran
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent grappling toward finding the intersection between social justice and Buddhism/mindfulness. Exactly what I have been looking for.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An important book
Anna Perry
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mark Gelula
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
Interesting, but at times written obtusely.
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an American writer, ordained Zen priest and the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace, published by Viking Press in 2000. Called "the most vocal and most intriguing African-American Buddhist in America" by Library Journal, Williams is the Spiritual Director of the meditation-based newDharma Community and founder of the Center for Transformative Change in Berk ...more
“We simply cannot engage with either the ills or promises of society if we continue to turn a blind eye to the egregious and willful ignorance that enables us to still not “get it” in so many ways. It is by no means our making, but given the culture we are emerging from and immersed in, we are responsible. White folks’ particular reluctance to acknowledge impact as a collective while continuing to benefit from the construct of the collective leaves a wound intact without a dressing. The air needed to breathe through forgiveness is smothered. Healing is suspended for all. Truth is necessary for reconciliation. Will we express the promise of and commitment to liberation for all beings, or will we instead continue a hyper-individualized salvation model—the myth of meritocracy—that is the foundation of this country’s untruth?” 5 likes
“I’m thinking about my own liberation. I mean, I’m not liberated. Liberation is a process, and I think one of the first important things I had to do is stop believing in my inferiority. I” 3 likes
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