Buddhism Gains Popularity

August 19, 2000

Source: The Plain Dealer

On August 19, 2000, The Plain Dealer reported on cultural and religious identity in an article entitled, "Religion is Deeper than One's Culture." In it, M. Lavora Perry talks about the joy and peace she has gotten from Buddhism since she turned to its teachings thirteen years ago. Yet, as an African-American woman, she is often chastised by others for choosing a religion that is not "black enough." Perry says that, "When I'm labeled a cultural sellout for not being Christian, I reply that, like many blacks, I believe Jesus may have had African ancestry, but most folks believe Jesus lived in the Middle East. That area is not known for having much American-style, 'it's-a-black-thing' flavor.

"But more importantly, I think religion should be about something deeper than cultural identity. Religion should squarely address the three fundamental questions we each need to ask: 'Where did I come from?' 'Why was I born?' and 'What happens to me when I die?'

"I also believe a religion should enable one to live each day joyfully, and with the inner resources it takes to move both molehills and mountains. In Soka Gakkai Buddhism, these requirements are met to my satisfaction."