FULL ARTICLE: 4 Signs You’re Culturally Appropriating Buddhism

This is a really interesting article.  It makes some great points, but it also seems to be taking the signs, tokens, symbols, and cairns of spiritual practice too literally.  I cringe when I see yin yang symbols on word burnings at Target and on cocktail sets at Crate and Barrel, and cultural appropriation always sucks. But if you take Buddhist teachings at their word, non-attachment and impermanence would dictate that the symbols of Buddhism, “religious” or not, should be seen as just that, symbols. And symbols are subject to non-attachment and impermanence. They’re just physical-worldly markers.. reminders. And as such, any inappropriate or purely aesthetic appropriation only amplifies the distance the user has yet to travel on their path to enlightenment, whether they consider themselves on that path or not. Which would thereby make the appropriation itself useful as a teaching tool – which is actually the intended purpose of the symbol/marker/lesson in the first place and brings us full-circle, to this article. Two steps forward, one step back as a practically newborn species on the timeline of spiritual, intellectual and physical evolution.  Thanks to Rachel Douglas of The Innerwork Center in Richmond, Va. for sharing this article.  It got me thinking, and reflecting, and meditating.  Which is good.  Oh, and for obvious reasons, it was an intentional choice not to provide an image to accompany this post.  What’s one less symbol?

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