Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition
Rima Vesely-Flad, Ph.D.
June 19, 2022
To celebrate the release of Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition, Southern Dharma Retreat Center is teaming up with Firestorm, a bookstore co-op in West Asheville, to host author and scholar Rima Vesely-Flad in conversation with local Black trans storyteller Spike.
In Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition, Rima Vesely-Flad examines the distinctive features of Black-identifying Buddhist practitioners, arguing that Black Buddhists interpret Buddhist teachings in ways that are congruent with Black radical thought. Indeed, the volume makes the case that given their experiences with racism—both in the larger society and also within largely white-oriented Buddhist organizations—Black cultural frameworks are necessary for illuminating the Buddha’s wisdom.
The book includes discussions of the Black Power movement, the Black feminist movement, and the Black prophetic tradition. It also offers a nuanced discussion of how the Black body, which has historically been reviled, is claimed as a vehicle for liberation. In so doing, the book explores how the experiences of non-binary, gender non-conforming, and transgender practitioners of African descent are validated within the tradition. The book also uplifts the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer Black Buddhists. This unique volume shows the importance of Black Buddhist teachers’ insights into Buddhist wisdom, and how they align Buddhism with Black radical teachings, helping to pull Buddhism away from dominant white cultural norms.
This rescheduled event will be offered both in person at Urban Dharma (697c Haywood Road) and online from 3-4:30pm on Sunday, June 19th. Your registration fee for in-person or online attendance is offered on a sliding scale ($0 – $20); kindly offer to pay at the highest amount that you are able. All proceeds will be offered as dana to the author. Note that those who are attending in person may also reserve a copy of the book as part of the registration process, which will be available for payment and pick-up at the event.