School for Social Work
This study was undertaken to explore the applicability of Buddhist philosophy and practices to unlearning racism and to anti-racism work. The research was a fixed method, descriptive, qualitative study with a sample of 21 individuals who professed a connection to Buddhism and interest or experience in anti-racism work. Through an e-mailed survey, participants were asked several questions exploring the relevance of Buddhist teachings and practices to anti-racism work and to their own personal journeys of unlearning racism, as well as the relevance of body-based, Buddhist practices that could be applied to unlearning the effects of racism in the body. The findings of the research revealed that participants found the Buddhist teachings on compassion to be most relevant to anti-racism work. Additional Buddhist teachings that participants cited as relevant included teachings on interconnection, no self, emptiness, suffering and karma, as well as teachings pertaining to undoing conditioning, basic goodness, and ego. Participants highlighted meditation, lovingkindness practices, and body-based meditation as important for healing the effects of racism. Some participants offered criticism of how American Buddhists have addressed issues of race and racism in their communities. The findings suggest that Buddhist practices and teachings may hold relevance for anti-racism and unlearning racism work, and further research is needed to better understand how to maximize these resources for healing the effects of racism.
Riegel, Chara Joy, "Buddhist philosophy and practices as applied to unlearning racism" (2008). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.