A highlight from #343: What Everyone Who Meditates Should Know | Chenxing Han and Duncan Ryken Williams


You do yoga for that better you may have been taught by a westerner but you gigantic debt of gratitude to the giants and geniuses over in asia. Who developed these practices in the first place. This fact can be overlooked or downplayed intentionally or otherwise by some western practitioners including sometimes by me however in the midst of a spike of anti-asian violence now seems like a really good time to learn more about where these practices came from an why many asian american buddhists sometimes feel erased. Not only. is this the right thing to do. But it can also add depth and perspective and freshness to your practice so in this episode. We've got to fascinating guests. Who will talk about what it's been like for them to be asian. American buddhists in the midst of this spate of hate crimes and walk us through the long and ugly history of anti buddhist violence in america. We also talked about how all meditators not just people in vulnerable communities can learn resiliency through the practice of meditation. The connection between karma and reparations. And whether it's possible or advisable to generate goodwill towards people who hate you when we also have a frank conversation about how some of my own messaging about buddhism in america may have missed the mark. My guests are chen's zing. Han was the author of be the refuge raising the voices of asian american buddhists shields from stanford university and an m a in buddhist studies from the graduate theological union and my other guest is dunkin. Do ken williams. Who is the author of american sutra. A story of faith and freedom in the second world war. He has a ba in religious studies from read and a phd in religion from harvard. He's currently a professor at the university of southern california. He's also zen priest both challenging and dunkin or helping to organize a national ceremony which will take place the day after we post this interview on the forty nine day anniversary of the atlanta spa shootings. That took the lives of several asians and asian americans. And we're gonna put some more information on that event in the show notes. One thing to say before we dive in. We are dedicating this entire week to the spike in hate crimes against members of the api community. Wednesday we're gonna talk to machine ikeda a buddhist teacher about how all of us can use meditation to deal with anger uncertainty and self loathing. Okay here we go now with tenzing. And duncan okay. Tenzing han and dunkin. Do ken williams. Thank you both for coming on. Thank you great to meet with you. It's an honor tenzing. Louis start with you to state the blazingly obvious. This has been a dumpster fire of the last year. Or so. And i think it might be helpful for our listeners. To get a sense from both of you but starting with utilizing about how this time has been for you as we've seen this uptick in. Hey crunch yeah well. I came back from bangkok. Actually march twenty twenty so my partner and i were based in southeast asia for the last presidency. We came back from bangkok in march. Twenty twenty for would be among visit. Obviously we have not left the bay area. Since and what i remember was when i flew in one of my friends in bangkok texted saying i really hope you stay safe both from the virus and the racism and it was. That was my welcome back to america. And so it's been a lot a lot to take in the news. In particular the kind of feeling of just an endless stream of reports on gerbo violence physical assaults on asian american buddhists and a sense of that escalating as well when we read accounts of things that really hit comb for the buddhist community in particular when you know when we chat at an empty was assaulted and killed much going on a morning. Walk in san francisco and when are but his temples in southern california have been vandalized and i recognize have much privileged that i've been able to stay safe at home to work from home but still the kind of psychological effects of hearing this kind of news day. In and day out is really heavy. And since i've launched my book in late january and speaking with a lot of different communities including a lot of asian americans. I noticed that of fear the grief the anger just all of these difficult emotions that are really being stood up and of course people who are also very directly affected friends who've been affected by this kind of violence so there's a lot to say there but for myself i can feel that in my body and i can feel that in the ways that i can't always listen to the news day in and day out because it can be quite traumatic for people duncan for you. Sure i think in terms of the last year the kind of pandemic year one of the things that i went through on a personal basis was that i became a us citizen last june. After thirty three years of being in the united states on different legal status and visas and so forth kinda gave up my japanese nationality and took the plunge into becoming a us citizen. And you'd happened on juneteenth last year In the federal courthouse in downtown los angeles and it was therefore a day when black lies and protests. Were were happening right around city hall and it made me think about this time what it means to be an american. I went in my buddhist robes to do the ceremony and for me is kind of important way of like affirming religious freedom and the constitution. As we took that oath i did in my robes. As a way of kind of saying i'm going to defend the constitution and these pe- protesters outside are also trying to do the same thing in terms of equality under the law religious freedom. All those aspirations that make us american so think it's in that context. I often think about like What's been happening to a group of people Jesse mentioned you know asian american people. I think for a long time Booze people for a long time have been facing these acts of exclusion and animus and violence. And so i think just calls on us whether we're new citizens or have been citizens for a long time what it means when a certain

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