American Buddhist Women — On Race and Politics
On 1 April 2017, American Buddhist Women will gather in Los Angeles to address the issues of diversity, race, and exclusion in America. The gathering is a conference sponsored by the USA Chapter of the International Association of Buddhist Women and co-sponsored by the University of the West.
Daughters of the Buddha, USA
This alliance for Buddhist women is known as Sakyadhita USA, which translates as “Daughters of the Buddha, USA.” It is a chapter of a worldwide network, Sakyadhita International, which is made up of over 2,000 women from 45 countries.
The organization is devoted to improving conditions for women in Buddhism, promoting gender equity, promoting research on women in Buddhism, promoting harmony among different traditions, and especially devoted to improving the lives of Buddhist women in developing countries.
About the conference
The conference is open to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, and is aimed at fostering an exploration of how the politics of race and exclusion can be understood through the lens of Buddhist teachings.
The theme of the conference is: “Diversity in the Dharma: Buddhist Women Engage Race and Exclusionary Politics in America.”
• How the politics of race and exclusion can be addressed through the Buddhist lens
• How several Buddhist communities are turning exclusion into inclusion
• Workshop to create action plans for broader outreach in Buddhist communities
The conference will feature two keynote speakers, an art show, and group presentations. The first keynote speaker is Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin, the first woman of African-Japanese descent to be ordained as a priest in the Nichiren Shu Order. The second keynote speaker will be theologian, community Dharma leader, and pastoral counselor Pamela Ayo Yetunde, JD, MA, ThD.
The Conference will be held in Los Angeles, California, on 1 April 2017 at the University of the West Conference Venue 1409 N. Walnut Grove Ave., Rosemead, CA. This is 15 minutes east of downtown Los Angeles.
To learn more about the conference or register for the conference visit: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07edgyk5tta92e7bb8&llr=w4vqasdab
2017 is also the year for the Sakyadhita, International Buddhist Women’s Conference, which will meet in Hong Kong on 22–28 June 2017.
For more details visit: http://sakyadhita.org/conferences/15th-si-con.html
Quotations from the keynote speakers
“Inspired by the life of Nichiren Shonin and committed to applying the principles of Buddhist practice in all aspects of her life, [Myokei Shonin], as a natural consequence, began to tackle issues of social justice. Many of the problems experienced by the members she cared for were cultural, political, global. In truth, helping these people also meant working to create a more just society. To that end, [Myokei Shonin] sought to dismantle walls of prejudice, fear and just plain lack of awareness, endeavoring to create many opportunities for dialogue, the goal being to foster connection, understanding, and ultimately, healing. Of her many endeavors, one of the most notable was the formation of the ‘Diversity Group,’ the first of its kind in Soka Gakkai International.”
From “A biography of Myokei Caine-Barrett,” by Christie C. Source: http://nichiren-shu.org/Houston/pages/minister.htm
“Perhaps the biggest challenge for many US Buddhist women who suffer in their temples and sanghas from androcentrism and misogyny (not all women are suffering in this way), is the lack of feminist, womanist, mujerista, African or Asian-American women’s critical Buddhology—in other words, there seems to be no widely-embraced method of critiquing Buddhist teachings on women, from women’s cultural lenses.”
From “Black Snakes Shed Their Blood Hell Skins: University of the West and the Ground of Women’s Spiritual Liberation,” by Pamela Ayo Yetunde. Source: http://americanbuddhistwomen.com/pamela-ayo-yetunde.html
Click here for the conference flyer: SUSA conference flyer