We’re Not Who You Think We Are: Chenxing Han examines the stereotypes that have marginalized Asian American Buddhists and reports on the rich diversity and depth of practice of a new generation of practitioners

  • Level 3 - Captain

    We’re Not Who You Think We Are

    Chenxing Han examines the stereotypes that have marginalized Asian American Buddhists and reports on the rich diversity and depth of practice of a new generation of practitioners.


    “As a millennial, mixed-race Asian American Buddhist, I often feel like a party of one. When I am feeling lonely or unique, I imagine that I can see myself as if I am looking from a telephoto lens on the moon—I can see the insignificance of my challenges, that being a follower of Buddha’s wisdom doesn’t mean I am separated into a neat little category. Like the blades of grass in my yard, I am a part of this! Our differences deserve to ab acknowledged and respected, but we must not forget what binds us together. We are links in the chain. We are part of nature. You can call it dharma (I do), or you can simply call it the truth of being alive.”
    -Gabrielle Nomura Gainor, a media relations manager, professional dancer, and practitioner of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism from Seattle, Washington. Photo by Tsuki Nomura-Henley.

    During my undergraduate years, a budding interest in Buddhism prompted me to explore various Buddhist communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. At meditation centers where older white practitioners predominated, I regularly fielded compliments about my ability to speak the language I consider to be my native tongue: “Your English is so good; I can’t detect any accent at all!” I was further stymied by the frequent follow-up question, “Where are you from?” Having lived five years in my birthplace of Shanghai, six years in Pennsylvania, and seven in Washington State, then moved to the Bay Area for college after a gap year in Australia and Asia, I struggled for a succinct answer. “I went to high school near Seattle” only triggered further questioning. Where was I really from? Cambodia? China? Japan? Korea? Thailand? Tibet? This was hardly the first time white Americans expected me to be a recent immigrant from Asia who spoke “accented” English, though another expectation was new to me: “Your parents must be Buddhist.” To the contrary: raised by atheist parents who lived through the tumultuous Cultural Revolution, I grew up associating religion with brainwashing cults. My Bay Area explorations also took me to Buddhist temples where the membership was primarily Asian, places where I spent much of the time listening to Mandarin and trying to decipher the Cantonese, Khmer, or Vietnamese around me. Here, nobody complimented my English, probably because many of them had children who spoke English as fluently as I did. Yet I rarely saw anyone between preschool and middle age at the temple services. I began to wonder, Where are all the other young adult Asian American Buddhists?


    @secondstrike How do I do spoilers? I want to put more of the article in the thread, but don’t want people to have to scroll down a bunch.

  • @tour_operator I don’t think anyone here was saying that Christianity or any type of religion/fanaticism is the only contributing factor to white imperialism or the upholding of white supremacy but that it’s one of the many aspects of it that shouldn’t be ignored.

  • @tour_operator

    Also, there is constant attempt to troll, infiltrate, sabotage, corrupt, etc between each other sides which doesnt like each others: christianity vs talmudism vs masonry.

    So the answer is that Christians/Jews are the ones controlling (or who are “tamers” to) other Christians/Jews? So if the “puppets” are Christians/Jews and the “puppeteers” are also Christians/Jews, then what is the problem with criticizing Christians/Jews, especially those with a moral superiority complex in general?

    The current Vatican is like any big organizations, very likely hi-jacked and trolled, followed by blind bigots.

    Wouldn’t a simple solution to that is to rewrite/edit the entire Bible to make it idiot-proof and “unhijackable” by blind bigots? Since we all agree that many of what is said in the Bible is outdated and even Christians themselves cherry pick passages to follow and not follow, might as well rewrite the entire thing.

  • administrators

    @bugoutfever Looks like you’re good to go now. This is your OP


    Reload the page to see the spoiler function.

  • Level 3 - Captain

    @secondstrike Yep, I can see it. It is exactly what I was looking for, thanks.

    Please check my OP and see why I can’t get it working. Edit so the last paragraph is spoiler hidden. Then I can see first hand.

  • administrators

  • @tour_operator

    Fellas, i just love how people are still stubbornly bashing against Christianity and foccussing only on the puppets while, in the same time, referring to the atomic bomb, opium, Bolshevism and slave traders. One must also check who wrote history sometimes…

    The quote that I just cited on how the south loves to hold a bible on one hand but a gun on the other is reference to the fight between Christian Republicans/southerners and not-so-religious Democrats/northerners over the gun law that is an ongoing debate even today. So no, that’s not “history” just yet :) Neither is the fight between Christians and non-Christians on women’s reproductive rights (abortion, birth control, planned parenthood, etc…), issues on immigration (particularly non-white immigrants), issues regarding gay marriage and gay adoption of orphans, and the protection of pedophile priests by the Vatican.

    Again, I’m not stating all of this to “stubbornly bash against Christianity” or even all Christians but the number of those who believe themselves to be morally superior than others due to their religion (but act otherwise).

    Many “Christian” gold-feverish entrepreneurs were involved in these crimes, but it is a big mistake to not admiting slavery was also commited by many other civilizations.

    No one’s denying that slavery didn’t exist in other civilizations. However, not many of the other civilizations forced their religion down others’ throats on the belief that they are “kind, good-hearted people to save souls".

    We have to neutralize these puppets/“golems” also by getting familiar on who and how they are being created. If a bitch bites you, you must figure out who was/were the tamer[s]. It works sometimes like that: one wants some work of destruction to be done without being involved, go find a group of easily guillible loud brats to tame, and they’ll do the work x100 times louder without even reconsidering their action.

    So who do you think are the puppeteers to these puppets? For example, if the Vatican is protecting pedophile priests not for their own interests but for someone else who you say is taming them, who do you think is the “tamer” then? Genuine question, I’m interested to know.

    Any hint or you really don’t get the point about uncle-chanly (and unwittingly) asserting some historical doctrines ? ;)

    I believe we’re all adults capable of civilized discussions here. Let’s try to stay clear from personal insults/attacks or the display of passive aggressive behavior if we can.

  • administrators


    Ok. I agree there are lots of nuance, but at some point, we need to take a stand against general trends. For example, not every white person hates Asian men, but the overall pattern is undeniable. The results are clear as day. How would you address such an issue?


    Please elaborate on following. It sounds potentially useful.

    Rather, knowing the very simple patterns of mass trolling / crowd psychology / frames of influence to power networks, and how to prevent them turning into our dis-advantage

  • administrators


    It’s nice to bring up the Valladolid debate and the schism inside the church but in the end what did it achieve for the Native Indians? What have their debates achieved for Africans?

    The first two two links as I understand them blame most of the problems on Jews. How do Jews explain the Eight nation Alliance or any other machinations by other European imperialists? See http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/12/are-europes-horrid-crimes-forgiven/

    How does it explain the current global terrorist, America? http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-State-Guide-Worlds-Superpower/dp/1567513743/

    I have heard about the secret Jewish cabal claim, but can a tiny percentage of the world’s population really wreak that much havoc for so long and not simply be exterminated?

    Let’s even assume some shadow group of Jews control the banks and can threaten to call loans. So what? Who controls the world’s most powerful military?..unless that’s also controlled by the secret Jewish cabal lol. In fact, the idea of a secret Jewish cabal is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence. If they’re so powerful, surely they would live in a big place than tiny Israel.

    I can’t take that cbc link seriously. It’s merely an interview with an actor.

  • administrators


    One must also check who wrote history sometimes…Any hint or you really don’t get the point about uncle-chanly (and unwittingly) asserting some historical doctrines ? ;)

    Can you expand on this? It would really help to flesh out your ideas in plain language. I find these messages a bit off putting because they’re vague but condescending.

Log in to reply

Looks like your connection to AsianSoul was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.