Buddhism culturally in America must reach a 21st Century paradigm. A Black man is President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world. If a Black man can lead the governing of a nation, certainly we Black people in America can culturally integrate our influences into the Buddhist practice. We will lead and teach Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism to our own people. It will be Black teachers to teach Blacks not Japanese.
The is a picture the late Joseph Thomas. Mr. Thomas was a career military man who was introduced to Buddhism in Japan on the island of Okinawa. I met Mr. Thomas in 1974. Mr. Thomas was one of my early Buddhist teachers. We Blacks started practicing Buddhism in Memphis. We started what was called the "South Chapter." Hundreds of Blacks begin to practice Buddhism in Memphis and the Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda methodically, systematically and purposefully broke up the Black Buddhist cultural movement and closed all Black "Cultural Pathways" for Blacks in Memphis to learn Buddhism via a "cultural path." Because of this racism and cultural insensitivity I departed the SGI Buddhist organization in 1991. In 1996 I traveled to Japan and joined Nichiren Shoshu Temple. Whether it is the SGI or the Hokkeo Buddhist organization I found institutional racism and cultural insensitivity in that the Japanese blocked all "Cultural Pathways" that would encourage African/Americans and other races to adopt Buddhism.
The Gosho on " Repaying debts of gratitude " reads;" If one hopes to learn and master Buddhism, then one cannot do so without devoting time to the task. And if one wants to have time to spend on the undertaking, one cannot continue to wait on one’s parents, one’s teachers, and one’s sovereign. Until one attains the road that leads to emancipation, one should not defer to the wishes and feelings of one’s parents and teachers, no matter how reasonable they may be".
Nichiren Daishonin states in the Gosho “Three Kinds of Treasure,”
"More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all".
A people's culture is a "Treasure of the Heart." In order for Buddhism to touch the heart of Black people in America, Buddhism must be taught in America in a way that integrates and respect the culture of Black people. Instead of the profound teachings of Buddhism adapting to the culture of Black people in America, Black people are expected to adapt to the culture of Japanese people in Japan. Buddhism in America posses an African/American cultural void. As a result you will find void of strong African/Americans males engaged in the Buddhist religion. We at the "Proud Black Buddhist" website challenge this Black cultural void and Japanese cultural dominance in the propogation of Buddhism in America. We hope to carve a "Cultural Pathway" pathway in order that African/Americans and other s can enjoy the profound and exciting Buddhist teachings of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.
This is a picture of the late Julius L. Dorsey from the Memphis, Tennessee. Julius was my Karate teacher and affectionally known to many in Memphis as Sensei. The Japanese lead SGI Buddhist organization broke up Black Buddhist groups in America that lent itself to Black Culture and Black leadership. Julius Dorsey departed the SGI Buddhist organization around 1990. Julius became a direct Temple member under the Buddhist Temple in Chicago. Many culturally strong Black Buddhist departed the SGI Buddhist organizations through out America and they joined Nichiren Shoshu Temples through-out America. Julius Dorsey and his wife Jeanette single handed built the largest group of Hokeko of Nichiren Black Buddhist groups in America. Just as soon as the Nichiren Shoshu Priest gained footing in America they turned away any idea of Black cultural integration within Buddhism. The Priest implemented in Memphis a strict Japanese cultural policy that prohibited Julius Dorsey from teaching any Buddhist doctrine in his own home at meetings. The many Black members that Julius introduced to Buddhism who understood Julius lost their faith in Buddhism based on the Priest disrespect of Black People in America. The Nichiren Shoshu Priest in essence "Spiritually Castrated" Julius Dorsey. The Priest initiated a policy that allowed only his direct and controlled messages could be read at any Nichiren Shoshu meetings. The priest closed all "Cultural Pathways" to Buddhism"in Memphis and they initiated a strict Japanese Cultural code. The Priest taught very little Buddhism and gave Black people in Memphis only a strong dose of Japanese culture. The Black people in Memphis never got Buddhist teachings from the Priest. What Black people got were strong lessons in Japanese culture and practices.
Julius Dorsey had a phenomenal ability and charisma to introduce even the most common African/Americans from the lowest social and economic conditions on the discipline and spirit of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism. Julius Dorsey was a Black man of strong will and no way would he subordinate his will to a Japanese Priest as required by the Nichiren Shoshu Priest. Gerald Hopkins and his wife Gail were college educated, middle class and faithful Buddhist who gave their entire heart and passion to Priest for over a decade. If there was ever a family who was the perfect Nichiren Shoshu family based on the Priest it was Gail and Gerald Hopkins who traveled 550 miles from Memphis to Chicago countless times to receive personal training from the Priest. While Gerald is highly skilled and educated man and he spent over a decade under personal guidance three Priests. His knowledge of the Gosho and Buddhist teachings were remedial. Gerald's background of Buddhist study was so poor in explaining Buddhism that I can clearly say that the Nichiren Shoshu Priest "Regressed his knowledge & Buddhist spirit." It was not that Gerald could not explain Buddhism Gerald subordinated his culture and spirit to the Priest. If a person gives up their culture they lose their spirit. In America we are critical thinkers I went to Buddhist meetings at Gerald's home and all one could get were perfunctory canned speeches from the Priest. I often thought to tell Gerald to tear those speeches up and explain Buddhism from his heart and soul. In the decade of attending meetings at Gerald's we saw a family who had mastered "Japanese Culture" who had become what we could describe as "Un- American & Un-Black. What the Priest did was transfer to Memphis, Tennessee was a perfect example of Japanese culture that was so immense that Gerald and Gail have seemed to have lost their African/American roots. The meetings were boring with no heart and soul or education. The Nichiren Shoshu Priest literally destroyed Buddhism in Memphis by destroying the culture. I told Rev. Iwaki that what he was teaching was not Buddhism but Japanese culture. Rev. Murata started the break up of Buddhism in Memphis and Rev. Iwaki literally destroyed Buddhism with his "Heavyhand of Japanese culture."
Gerald Hopkins became the Kyoto or official coordinator in Memphis. The Priest striped away cultural all vestiges of the practice. Gerald became a complete vessel in the image of the Priest. The problem was African/Americans unable to relate to Japanese culture and no one attended the dull or Japanese culturally void meetings. The Priest were successful in culture be a failure in propagation in Memphis.
Click on picture view meeting at his house
Although he as passed away Julius L.Dorsey is a living testiment as to why we Black people need Black Buddhist teachers. Julius Dorsey communicated the Buddhist teachings and many people accepted the Buddhist faith in their lives the Japanese destroyed the spirit of Buddhism and their Japanese cultural model does not work for Black People. It does not matter that you have a 750 year old tradition it is Black people who understand Black people.
Julius Dorsey was not only a Buddhist teacher was a Karate Master. Click on picture see Julius in Karate action.
Click on the picture of the late Joseph Thomas. He played himself in my 1988 released movie "Contemporary Gladiator"