Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First "Western" Female Priest in the Nichiren Order

A few bloggers have already posted the link to this article, but I think it's worth repeating.

Editor's Note: Buddhist Myokei Caine-Barrett is the first woman of African-Japanese descent, and the only Western woman, to be ordained as a priest in the Nichiren Order. She is the resident priest and guiding teacher for the Myoken-ji Temple, home of the Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Texas. She talks about her journey to Buddhism in "The Black Pulpit," a weekly series that explores faith in the black community.

Caine-Barrett goes on to speak of her wide ranging spiritual path, beginning with Biblical stories and taking her into a Nichiren community. The last two paragraphs, I think, are especially important, given the continual bubbling up of discussions about race, racism, and "Western" sanghas.

The practice of Buddhism has much to offer communities of color; however, it may be difficult to find teachers and practitioners with the necessary experience. There is no national directory. We exist in myriad traditions and cities throughout the U.S. Ordination in many traditions is often difficult and expensive, and finding teachers willing and able to address issues relative to being African-American is sometimes impossible.

Yet, progress is being made as we create sanghas within communities of color and assume the roles of clergy and lay teachers. It is definitely time for practitioners of color to step up and make ourselves known. Our communities need us to be present now.


Algernon said...

What a beautiful face!

Unknown said...

wow! This is great! So glad you posted this, I was really interested to read about it! :)