A few years ago while listening to our morning WDIA radio in my home of Memphis, Tennessee “the first Black Radio Station” in America, radio talk show host Bobby O'Jay asked the question can anyone in our audience tell who is the Dalai Lama and what does he do? This week the Dalia Lama is on the cover of Time magazine. In complete honesty as a Nichiren Buddhist for over 30 years I had very little knowledge of what the Dali Lama does and for that matter most Buddhist teaching prior to joining Nichiren Buddhism I was unclear regarding an understanding of Buddhism. Today as I write this Lecture the Dalai Lama is all over our international news there is even a story of a dog in Japan that prays at a Buddhist Temple. The idea of Buddhism in America is vague and unclear to the average American and certainly our form of Buddhism differs from what we know as Buddhism.
The idea that I can write a lecture on Barack Obama and Buddhism is a great opportunity to give readers some understanding of Nichiren Buddhism and also this is a great opportunity to enlighten some of my other Buddhist brothers and sisters regarding our Buddhist teachings. Barack Obama is an enigma that challenges the very foundation of America that is marred in hypocrisy and contradiction. The issue of his controversial minister Jeremiah Wright's stinging unveiling of our ills in America is a painful cutting reality that we as Americans do not want to face or even talk about.
The fact remains and it is a clear and ill refutable fact that the most segregated day in America is Sunday during worship service. Even some of the most liberal integrated Churches in America are a bastion of hypocrisy.
This issue of hypocrisy is not only a part of the Christian religion this hypocrisy is a part of the very religious sect of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism that I practice. During an exchange meeting in Japan I stood up and brought up the issue of racism and culture and everyone shyed away from me. It is African/Americans members in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism who call this site racist because we have the courage to tell a Japanese Priest that even they should purge racism from their hearts, further Priests should get a clear understanding of the culture in America and stop acting arrogant as if they know everything because they are a Priest. Racism is not just endemic to our sect of Buddhism but racism is an institutional sickness that is at the very core of human history that dates back to the Bramin Priests in India with the "Caste System". The Black Buddha spoke about this.
Let me site a few examples of institutional racism. Just last night my wife and I was at a lecture given by world famous Paleoanthropologist Dr. Donald Carl Johanson founder of the Institute of human origins. Dr. Johanson is famous for discovering the Famous Lucy fossil in Ethiopia. During his lecture he showed the world famous graphic of the origin of man picture evolving from an ape to the modern man. Dr. Johanson mention that the picture was a Euro-Centric view of man and he made clear of the point that man originated in Africa and our institutions taught erroneous information that original and evolved man becoming white was not correct.
A year ago during a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist meeting in Memphis, Tennessee I asked our priest based in Chicago about the oldest and largest Buddhist stature in the ancient capital of Nara Japan being that of an African man. The Ancient Buddhist were Africans and history proves this however the Priest told me that he does not deal with racism and he was insulted and so was I insulted but because he was a Priest others will overlook an error of a Priest. I got the same thing from an SGI Buddhist leader about sixteen years ago that compelled me to depart from the SGI Buddhist organization. I challenged the SGI on racism and everyone turned a blind eye on me. This website was started because our African/American leader would not accept a video that I took in Ghana Africa clearing showing SGI racism in Ghana.
Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism had a lay organizational arm of the sect called the SGI. The SGI was run by the powerful lay leader Daisaku Ikeda who has since broken off from the 750 year old sect to form his own Buddhist organization. If I were to look over my life and name events or persons who positively influenced my life I would list Daisaku Ikeda as one of the greatest influences in my life.
Despite the fact that Daisaku Ikeda was a great influence on my life I broke away from the SGI because I felt that the organization was racist. In overlooking the matter the SGI was not a racist organization but the organization lacked the will to challenge racist institutional hypocrisy not only in the world but the organization did not have the will to challenge hypocrisy within its own ranks. During my membership in over 20 years they never had an African/American male of its paid staff or its executive boards and never did the organization deal with culture inclusive of Black and African history. It is ironic that an African/American could be President of the United States of America but a few years ago the same African/American Oback Obama could not be a paid staff member in a religious organization that promoted the idea on the surface of equality and human revolution. Since my leaving the organization I think that they have made some improvements. Let us say window dressing and a facade.
The Saint Nichiren Daishonin writes in the Gosho;
“There should be no discrimination between those who propagate “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
” We will deal with the meaning of this phase later in our lecture.
Many people who read this Buddhist website connect up to our spirit and they take an interest at wanting to learn about Buddhism. The truth regarding the matter is the fact that our referring people who sincerely want to learn Buddhism to our temples is a precarious matter. In the religious sect of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism our “Proud Black Buddhist Website” is considered a maverick anomaly and we are not recognized and we are even discouraged by those who practice the conventional Buddhism at our temples. It is interesting that people whom joined Buddhism because of our website are encouraged by those in the ranks not to associate with us because of our independent thinking.