Reflections of a Black Buddhist

February 14, 2006

Source: Beliefnet

On February 14, 2006 Beliefnet released an excerpt of the essay entitled, "Black Is Buddhafull" by Bhiksuni Thich Chan Chau Nghiem, which appears in the book "The Buddha's Apprentices: More Voices of Young Buddhists." This essay outlines how Bhuksuni, the daughter of a white father and black mother, was able forgive her racist grandfather through Buddhist meditational practices. "About three years ago, my dad and I attended a 21-day retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Sangha in Vermont. My granddad had died ten years earlier... I sat and breathed to connect with my granddad. 'Breathing in, granddad, I am here for you. Breathing out, I will take good care of you in me.' Soon I was in tears. Up came a very deep, old hurt of feeling rejected, discriminated against, unloved because of my skin color. It was very painful. But I had never embraced this pain with my mindfulness before. It had just been lying there stuck in my consciousness. Now it could circulate freely, massaged by mindful breathing... As I held and began to release this block of pain and confusion, I meditated on my granddad, and began to look deeply into him. I felt his presence very strongly. Suddenly I knew he didn't want to be the way he was, in fact he made himself suffer tremendously because of his rigid beliefs about race... I let go of the judgment and resentment that I had always carried in my heart toward him. I loved him unreservedly, and for the first time I felt truly happy to be his granddaughter."