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Be the Refuge
Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists
By Chenxing Han
With Yong Oh
Thursday, June 24 at 7 PM ET.
About the Book
A must-read for modern sanghas—Asian American Buddhists in their own words, on their own terms.
More than two thirds of U.S. Buddhists are Asian American. But you’d never guess this from mainstream representations, which all too often whitewash the racial and cultural diversity of American Buddhist communities.
Be the Refuge is both critique and celebration, countering the erasure of Asian American Buddhists while uplifting their stories and experiences. The Oriental monk, the superstitious immigrant, the banana Buddhist: dissatisfied with these tired tropes, Han asks, Will the real Asian American Buddhists please stand up? Her journey to answer this question led to in-depth interviews with a pan-ethnic, pan-Buddhist group of eighty-nine young adults.
Weaving together the voices of these interviewees with scholarship and spiritual inquiry, this book reenvisions Buddhist Asian America as a community of trailblazers, bridge-builders, integrators, and refuge-makers. Encouraging frank conversations about race, representation, and inclusivity among Buddhists of all backgrounds, Be the Refuge embodies the spirit of interconnection that glows at the heart of American Buddhism.
To view a list of resources click here.
Chenxing Han is a Bay Area–based writer whose publications have appeared in Buddhadharma, Journal of Global Buddhism, Lion’s Roar, Pacific World, Tricycle, and elsewhere. She holds a BA from Stanford University and an MA in Buddhist studies from the Graduate Theological Union. After studying chaplaincy at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California she worked in spiritual care at a nearby community hospital in Oakland. Her first book, Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists, was published by North Atlantic Books in January 2021. www.chenxinghan.com
Yong Oh is a Dharma Council teacher at the Durango Dharma Center, teaches for the Chattanooga Insight Meditation group, and is currently on the Leadership Council for Thanissara and Kittisaro’s Sacred Mountain Sangha. Yong is a graduate of Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leaders program and is currently a participant in the 2017-2021 Insight Meditation Society Retreat Teacher Training program as well as the Sacred Mountain Sangha Dharmapala program. Yong is also an acupuncturist, loves the outdoors and bringing the practice of meditation into nature, and aspires to support practitioners of color in the Dharma.
Want to Participate?
Step one: register for Be the Refuge’s book club meeting here.
Step two: join the IMS Book Club here,if you haven’t already. This registers you for our monthly newsletter which announces new programs and allows you to sign up for the book-of-the-month discussions that interest you.
Step three: order your copy of Be the Refuge here. Although there is no charge to join the book club, participants will need to secure their own copies of the books prior to the start of the monthly discussion group.
About the IMS Book Club
Each month, the IMS Book Club brings together authors and readers for a facilitated discussion on the featured dharma-book-of-the-month. Our book club offers participants a deeper experience and engagement with early Buddhist teachings and practice through the lens of the selected book.
A note on dana (generosity)
One of IMS’s deepest aspirations is to share the Buddha’s teachings with all who are interested, regardless of their ability to pay. We count on your generous support to operate our centers, to provide affordable rates and to give financial assistance to retreatants. Whenever you are inspired to offer a donation, you join a community directly engaged in alleviating suffering and bringing greater wisdom and compassion to the world. (Click here to learn more about the dana practice.)