Going Beyond Denial

Going Beyond Denial












By Shastri Charlene Leung. This article originally appeared in Shambhala Times on July 3rd.


As the Chairperson of the Diversity Working Group for Shambhala International, I am familiar with our collective avoidance of challenging topics like racism and oppression. And, admittedly, I have avoided the topic of global warming. These were the expressed topics of the International Western Dharma Teachers Gathering I attended in early June.

For many in the US, racial awareness has been heightened this year with widespread media coverage of the mistreatment and killing of blacks by police. And especially now with the shootings at the prominent Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church in Charleston, SC, we can no longer ignore racial injustice. We may wonder what has become of humanity when a young man can join a Bible study class as a newcomer and after an hour get up and shoot 9 people while family and classmates witness. As the Sakyong has been telling us, we are at a crossroads – what we actually think about humanity makes a difference. Yet how can we not lose hope in the face of such horror? The young white shooter at the black church said he wanted to start a race war.

How can we possibly undo the materialism of racism and other oppressions? As dharma practitioners, what is our responsibility in responding to global concerns? In Shambhala we talk about creating enlightened society and protecting the earth. Is it possible without addressing the systemic exploitation of people and the planet?

Read the entire article here.

Charlene LeungCharlene Leung was appointed by the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as a Shastri in 2010. She has served as the Chairperson of the Diversity Working Group since 2009.