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Posts Tagged ‘Multiculturalism’

Buddha is Culture

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 24, 2012

By Lary Yang, Buddhist Meditation teacher HP

By2012 LGBT retreat at Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY

Towards a Multicultural Buddhist Practice

The three “jewels” or the Three Refuges is one of the core elements of Buddhist spiritual practice connected to all Buddhist traditions. In this series, the Refuges of Buddha’s Teachings — the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha — are explored through the lens of culture and cultural experience. These Refuges were offered by the Buddha to create safety and sense of spiritual home so that each practitioner can be invited to relax into the present moment of one’s Life, to be able to explore what this Life is for us, and to cultivate the Life we really wish to live. Even the word “Refuge” has a connotation, a feeling, of a safe haven wherein to go. It is said that when we invoke the Refuges, as happens in the beginning of meditation retreats or practice sessions, there is always someone else in the world taking on the Refuges at exactly the same moment. Across cultures, the intentions to create peacefulness and safety in the world are that prevalent.

And the Buddha is about Culture.

The Buddha’s expression about Freedom and Awakening has always been about culture, about diversity, and about the infinite variations in human experience with all the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows of this life. This remains a controversial issue within some Buddhist circles, including my home lineage of Buddhist practice. It may be different for other Buddhist traditions, but within communities of Vipassana or Insight Meditation, there is sometimes a predisposition to idealize the aspirations of spiritual practice, and to assume that the highest intention is to transcend the vicissitudes of this life, to somehow obviate the sorrows of this lifetime so that we only experience the pleasant, peaceful or sublime. I have heard dharma teachers bemoan conversations in diversity and culture, and say something like “Why do we dwell on our differences? The point of practice is to see our similarities.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Opposition Leader embraces multiculturalism as Dutch walk away

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 30, 2011

LAST Saturday, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott indicated at the federal Liberal Party council that he was embracing multiculturalism. Meanwhile, last week the Dutch government joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in rejecting multiculturalism.

A new Integration, Bonding and Citizenship Bill introduced by the centre-right Dutch government declares The Netherlands “steps away from the model of a multicultural society”.

The legislation halts special subsidies to ethnic groups and will allow for the revocation of visas for immigrants who refuse to learn Dutch. It even slashes welfare benefits for those whose “actual chances of obtaining employment [are] hindered by their behaviour or clothing”.

This legislation reflects concern in Europe at the social tensions arising from the presence in their midst of large unassimilated immigrant communities. The integration bill will pass the Dutch parliament with the support of Geert Wilders’s Partij voor de Vrijheid, the third largest bloc in the Dutch parliament.

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State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 5, 2011

David Cameron has criticised “state multiculturalism” in his first speech as prime minister on radicalisation and the causes of terrorism.

At a security conference in Munich, he argued the UK needed a stronger national identity to prevent people turning to all kinds of extremism.

He also signalled a tougher stance on groups promoting Islamist extremism.

The speech angered some Muslim groups, while others queried its timing amid an English Defence League rally in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

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