At the first-ever gathering of Buddhist teachers of black African descent, held at New York’s Union Theological Seminary, two panels of leading Buddhist teachers took questions about what it means to be a black Buddhist in America today.
“No one who has ever touched liberation could possibly want anything other than liberation for everyone,” says Rev. angel Kyodo Williams. She shares why we must each fully commit to our own path to liberation, for the benefit of all.”
How can we practice shifting anger from a destructive to a generative force? The Zen teacher, activist, and author angel Kyodo Williams describe healthy relationships to anger and the historical context of inequality for some communities. Anger is capable of pointing us back to love. It arises as a result of an offense to what we love. If we can use anger to reconnect to love, then that anger—the response that we have to injustice, pain, and suffering in the world—can be a generative force rather than a destructive one.
Western Buddhists often practice mindfulness and self-awareness. In this excerpt from Radical Dharma, Rev. angel Kyodo Williams urges us to align our practice with our actions in the world. as Gandhi offered, a piece of the truth—of Dharma. When we seek the embodiment of these truths, giving ourselves permission to be more honest, more healed, more whole, more complete—when we become radical—neither the path of solely inward-looking liberation nor the pursuit of an externalized social liberation prevails;
In this in-depth interview with Emergence Magazine, Reverend angel Kyodo Williams reflects on our widespread crisis of story, the failure of institutional religions to offer a new way forward, and her philosophy of Radical Dharma—a path to individual and collective liberation.
Real political change must be spiritual. Real spiritual practice has to be political. Buddhist teachers Sharon Salzberg and Rev. angel Kyodo Williams on how we can bring the two worlds together to build a more just and compassionate society.
If you have ever wondered how you would have shown up in the face of the challenge put before white America when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, upending the accepted social order, now is when you will find out. Will we actually embody our practice and teachings—or not? It is a clarifying moment about who we are as individuals and who we have been thus far as a collective of people laying claim to the teachings of the Buddha, waving the flag of wisdom and compassion all the while.
Rev. angel Kyodo Williams doesn’t like stereotypes. That’s not entirely surprising, since she also seems to enjoy shattering them. She’s a black queer woman in an American Buddhist tradition often steered by white men; a Buddhist operating in activist circles of mostly Christians and Jews; a leader of the Religious Left who doesn’t use the word “God.”
When I previously interviewed Rev. angel, for the January 2014 issue of The MOON, I was taken with several of her statements. “The only way the world is going to change the way we want it to is for us to show up in that same way,” she said. “If we want sustainability in the world, we have to live in sustainable ways. If we want peace in the world, we have to live in peaceful ways. If we want justice in the world, we have to be just in all our dealings.”
Zen teacher angel Kyodo Williams and meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg will discuss challenging questions about the relationship between personal and social transformation. The central message of Radical Dharma is that personal and social transformation must be brought together, with an extra emphasis on those who have been historically marginalized. Do I have that right