Yoga

Between Amitabha and Tubman: Black Buddhist Thought

  Issue Contents Journal Editor’s Introduction: Towards the Impossible Possibility of Black Buddhist Liberation shah noor hussein, Managing Editor Guest Editor’s Introduction: Making Black Buddhist Writing on an Apocalyptic Earth Shanté Paradigm Smalls Roundtable: Black-led and BIPOC Sanghas Shanté Paradigm Smalls in conversation with Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Vimalasara Mason-John, Claudelle R. Glasgow, Sheryl Petty, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, and Laurie Amodeo Honoring Ancestors in Black Buddhist Practice: Rituals of Devotion and Resilience Rima Vesely-Flad This article examines how Black Buddhists have embraced ancestral practices as they elaborate dharma teachings in convert Buddhist communities. Such practices include storytelling, devotional bowing, drumming, dancing, and chanting, as well as honoring African-derived images and ancestors on Buddhist altars. This article emphasizes the importance of honoring ancestors and the land within different lineages, as well as practices for incorporating indigenous rituals into Buddhist practices. For indigenous-oriented Buddhist practitioners, the history of ancestors carries meaning for themselves, their family members, and their broader community. Furthermore, the courage, determination, and perseverance embodied by ancestors is mirrored in the resilience of …

Contemplative Empowerment and Social Change

    Cover design by Alicia Brown   Download Individual Articles Below Editor’s Introduction We are pleased to share with you our first peer-reviewed collection, embodying The Arrow’s mission to create a space for rigorous, scholarly investigation of the relationship between contemplative practice and teachings on the one hand and issues of politics, economics, ecology, and activism on the other. With this issue, we break new ground in the field of contemplative studies by examining directly the ways in which mindfulness practices and contemplative teachings can be put in service of responsible citizenship, social justice, and social transformation. With the commodification of mindfulness and yoga continuing apace, and with most scholarly research on these practices still focusing on their individual benefits—psychological and physiological—we are thrilled to publish this first peer-reviewed issue, featuring articles that bring the political relevance of such practices and teachings into relief. In “Good-for-Nothing Practice and the Art of Paradox: The Exemplary Citzenship of Ta-Nehisi Coates,” Dean Mathiowetz explores meditation as one method that may help people to embody qualities essential to …

Interrogating the Nature of Identity in an Age of Rising Nationalism

With nationalist and populist waves washing over the globe, many of us within the contemplative world may be feeling upset and disappointed. We might be asking ourselves how nativist and xenophobic sentiments can have such popular support, particularly given the dangerous historical precedents of these trends. While these reactions can be justified, simply dismissing the changes we are witnessing as misguided and ignorant would miss the point. In particular, many citizens in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world are acting out of a sense of anxiety about their identities in a rapidly changing world riven by global capitalism’s savage inequities. What might wisdom traditions tell us about issues of identity? According to Buddhist philosophy, for instance, we are part of a world of dependent origination where all phenomena are inter-related and ephemeral; ultimately identity is about the realization of anatta (anātman), or “no-self.” In other words, the common egoic sense of identity to which we cling is a fiction. Similarly, yogic philosophy shares with Buddhism the concept of māyā (illusion), such …