What Discrimination Feels Like… When You’re A Buddhist
As part of our #BREAKFREE from racism week, we're exploring racial and religious discrimination. Sophie Dishman explains why nobody is immune...
I’m a woman – of faith. I am a Buddhist.
Yes, I’m one of those people that follows the teachings of the “big, fat, laughing man who, when you rub his belly, gives you good luck” – supposedly. (In case you don’t know who he is, he’s called Buddha.)
But in the past few months, I’ve had some shocking comments thrust towards me, simply because of my religion or my way of life as I prefer to call it.
In the past few days alone I’ve had comments like – ‘You’re a Buddha aren’t you?’ and ‘they are tree huggers!’. But for me, the one I’ve found to be the most offensive is, ‘I should be a Buddhist, things don’t make me happy.’ As if it was that simple.
I began my path of enlightenment half a decade ago, having been a Christian for 10 years. You could say that I’ve always been a person of faith, as I was baptised a few months after my birth. Regardless, being a woman and being religious does have its consequences.
I frequently get asked, “But what is Buddhismabout?” and when I openly tell people, my answers are usually met with a disconcerting upward gaze and raised eyebrows, almost with a hint of snobbery. Is there anything wrong with employing moral behaviours and attributing them to someone from the past? There seems to be – unfortunately. Buddhism is regarded in many countries as a religion of tolerance, love and compassion.
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