Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Kwanzaa (African Buddhists)

Annual Kwanzaa Founder's Message: As an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Given the profound significance Kwanzaa has for African Americans and, indeed, the world African community, it is imperative that an authoritative source and site be made available to give an accurate and expansive account of its origins, concepts, values, symbols, and practice. More>>
Black Buddhists?
Wisdom Quarterly
Are there really Black Buddhists? Of course! In fact, the Buddha's chief male disciple (who was foremost in spiritual mastery) was black. He was noted for being extremely dark-skinned, not African but a brahmin named Maha Moggallana. He was a beloved and enlightened monk who help establish the Dharma in India. Then as now Buddhism is open to everyone regardless of race or ethnicity or "caste" (socioeconomic status). Today, Bhante Buddharakkhita (pictured) is an excellent example of a Buddhist monk spreading the Dharma in Africa.

The Uganda Buddhist Centre in Kampala is a major initiative to secure a firm and lasting spiritual home for original Buddhist teachings and practice on African soil.

Ven. Buddharakkhita first encountered Buddhism in 1990, when he met Thai monks in India. He began practicing meditation in 1993. After living in Asia for seven years, he decided to continue his Dharma practice in the U.S.A., first in San Jose, California in the Burmese tradition then in West Virginia (Bhavana Society). He is the author of Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism on African Soil and is founder of the Uganda Buddhist Centre.

(Go278) Ven. Buddharakkhita, who was born in Uganda, East Africa, learned from various masters in India, Burma, and the US and was ordained by the late Burmese monk Sayadaw U Silananda in 2002. In 2005, he founded the Uganda Buddhist Center, the first Buddhist Center in Uganda.

Buddhism in Africa has grown in major African cities since the 1970s. There has been a proliferation of distinct traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, Nichiren, and Tibetan. The Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order has erected Nan Hua Temple, the largest Buddhist temple and monastery in Africa, in the town of Bronkhorstspruit near Pretoria.

Another notable Buddhist center in the country is the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal. The Nichiren Buddhist lay group Soka Gakkai International also has a community center in Parkwood, Johannesburg. A community of lay and ordained Buddhist practitioners live in the beautiful suburb of Blairgowrie/Rand-burg/Johannesburg at the Vajrapani Buddhist Centre and various other venues in Gauteng.

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