'A Revolutionary Practice'

Angel Kyodo Williams, author of 'Being Black,' talks about meditation, racism, and the true nature of American Buddhism.

When did you realize that Buddhism was the spiritual path for you?

I was raised Christian and while I'm very optimistic, faith as a sort of visceral idea--like "I have faith in this God that's out there somewhere"--that just never worked for me. So I left the church seven or eight years before I discovered the dharma.

More on Being Black and Being Buddhist

Read an excerpt from "Being Black" by Angel Kyodo Williams.

  • Check out a passage from "Dreaming Me" by Black Panther-turned-Buddhist scholar Jan Willis.
  • Read Charles Johnson's review of both books.
  • Join the discussion on race and Buddhism.
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    I started checking out Buddhist practice after I read a book called "Zen in Japanese Culture" by the scholar D.T. Suzuki. I was trying to find out more about Japanese culture--I loved the calligraphy, the martial arts, and Japanese gardens. But as I read this book, I began to realize that what I was attracted to was really Zen itself. I began to see that the same sensibility of balance, of evenness, was there in other Buddhist countries, too, like Tibet, Korea, and Vietnam. It was something that informed, and transcended, the culture.

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