Dharma Diversity and Deep Inclusivity at the East Bay Meditation Center: From Buddhist Modernism to Buddhist Postmodernism?
Abbreviated Journal Title
Through an ethnographic study of the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) in Oakland, California, this paper examines recent attempts to diversify meditation-based convert American Buddhism. Celebrated as the 'one of the most diverse Buddhist sanghas in the world', EBMC opened its doors in January 2007 with the goal of offering a more diverse alternative to the predominantly white, middle-class populated American Buddhist groups in the Bay Area. The EBMC is rooted in a 'gift economy' and offers weekly meditation groups for People of Color, LGBTQI populations, and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. While the EBMC houses separate identity-based groups, it is its attention to the multiple axes of difference-race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and disability- what I identify as 'dharma diversity'-that mark it as unique. In conclusion, I suggest that EBMC's diversity culture might indicate the emergence of a new postmodern stage in the assimilation of Buddhism in America.
"Dharma Diversity and Deep Inclusivity at the East Bay Meditation Center: From Buddhist Modernism to Buddhist Postmodernism?" (2014). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 5370.