Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists

Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists

by Chenxing Han


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A must-read for modern sanghas-Buddhists in their own words, on their own terms, More than two-thirds of U.S. Buddhists are Asian American. But you'd never guess this from mainstream representations, which all too often whitewash and invisibilize the diverse, inclusive, and intersectional communities that make up American Buddhism. Be the Refuge is both critique and celebration, countering the erasure of Asian American Buddhists while uplifting the complexity and nuance of their authentic stories and experiences. The Oriental monk, the superstitious immigrant, the banana Buddhist: dissatisfied with these tired, essentialized tropes, Han asks, Will the real Asian American Buddhists please stand up? Her journey to answer this question led to in-depth interviews with a pan-ethnic, pan-Buddhist group of 89 young adults. This book centers young Asian American Buddhists' own voices, with insights from multigenerational, second-generation, convert, and socially engaged Asian American Buddhists. It includes the stories of trailblazers, bridge-builders, integrators, and refuge-makers who hail from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds. Encouraging frank conversations about race, representation, and inclusivity among Buddhists of all backgrounds, Be the Refuge embodies the spirit of interconnection that glows at the heart of American Buddhism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623175238
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 01/26/2021
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 234,394
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

CHENXING HAN is a Bay Area-based writer whose publications have appeared in Buddhadharma, Journal of Global Buddhism, Lion's Roar, Pacific World, Tricycle, and elsewhere. She holds a BA from Stanford University and an MA in Buddhist studies from the Graduate Theological Union. After studying chaplaincy at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California, she worked in spiritual care at a nearby community hospital in Oakland. Be the Refuge is her first book.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Wondering 1

Seeking 6

Connecting 12

Part 1 Trailblazers

1 Erasure 21

2 Belonging 35

3 Lineage 49

Part 2 Bridge-Builders

4 Gaps 65

5 Reclamation 79

6 Compassion 93

Part 3 Integrators

7 Tension 113

8 Affinity 127

9 Roots 143

Part 4 Refuge-Makers

10 Anger 165

11 Privilege 185

12 Solidarity 207

Benediction 251

Appendix 1 Questions for Other Asian American Buddhists 255

Appendix 2 Interview Questions 261

Appendix 3 List of Interviews 267

Appendix 4 Interviewee Ethnicities 273

Appendix 5 A Diverse Group 277

Notes 285

Bibliography 303

Index 319

About the Author 327

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