The motivation behind this important volume is to weave together two distinct, but we think complementary, traditions – the philosophical engagement with race/whiteness and Buddhist philosophy – in order to explore the ways in which these traditions can inform, correct, and improve each other. This exciting and critically informed volume will be the first of its kind to bring together essays that explicitly connect these two traditions and will mark a major step both in understanding race and whiteness (with the help of Buddhist philosophy) and in understanding Buddhist philosophy (with the help of philosophy of race and theorizations of whiteness). We expand upon a small, but growing, body of work that applies Buddhist philosophical analyses to whiteness and racial injustice in contemporary U.S. culture. Buddhist philosophy has much to contribute to furthering our understanding of whiteness and racial identity, the mechanisms that create and maintain white supremacy, and the possibility of dismantling white supremacy. We are interested both in the possible insights that Buddhist metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical analyses can bring to understanding race and whiteness, as well as the potential limitations of such Buddhist-inspired approaches.
In their chapters, contributors draw on Buddhist philosophical and contemplative traditions to offer fresh, insightful, and powerful perspectives on issues regarding racial identity and whiteness, including such themes as cultural appropriation, mechanisms of racial injustice and racial justice, phenomenology of racial oppression, epistemologies of racial ignorance, liberatory practices with regard to racism, Womanism, and the intersections of gender-based, raced-based, and sexuality-based oppressions. Authors make use of both contemporary and ancient Buddhist philosophical and contemplative traditions. These include various Asian traditions, including Theravada, Mahayana, Tantra, and Zen, as well as comparatively new American Buddhist traditions.