Rev. angel Kyodo williams

‘Zen tradition doesn’t have a centralized structure, but they have power structures. Marginalized people are largely challenged by the power structures. Of course, once you’re deeply inside, you may know that there’s ways to reorganize your own mind in relationship to that power, but you have to get inside, which is why we see the experience of people coming and leaving. I have the benefit of being invited to different communities. And all white-dominated communities have slightly different permutations of the same thing.

Zen is single teachers. Once the teachers get to be teachers, they get to do anything they want, which is the only reason I can exist and be of use at all. It happens to be built into Zen that now that I’m a teacher they can’t say anything really to me.

On the other hand, in non-decentralized structures, teachers of color are threatened with their participation and existence. It’s subtle, but they’re not as vocal. It’s not because they don’t think the same thing I do. I’m having the same conversations with them, but the structures that exist and the way the power is disables their voices. That creates a ripple effect. People of color that come go, “OK, this is great. But every time I look up there, once again, I’m being told that the only people that can tell me something about myself and help me to learn and understand myself isomeone that has no shared conditional experience with me.”

Human beings are about communication, so there’s a communication in the power structures themselves. So who’s sitting here says something. All my life, this is never who was going to be sitting up here. That meant that I had to, as you said, weather it – stick it out. As the demographic changes and people are more empowered in their own lives and finding power in their own lives, they’re more and more unwilling to stick it out.

So as we have more people that are ready and open to different teachings outside of the traditional, conventional religions that they grew up with, they’re simultaneously politicized in such a way that they’re not willing to subject themselves to what many of us subjected ourselves to for a long time.

They’ve had enough.’ (Radical Dharma)

I have a couple of upcoming talks that I am starting to think about, and right now the notion of sangha and what it means is uppermost in my thoughts. This week, the posts will be in service of that notion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s