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Publisher's Summary

A must-listen for modern sanghas - Asian-American Buddhists in their own words, on their own terms.

Despite the fact that two thirds of US Buddhists identify as Asian American, mainstream perceptions about what it means to be Buddhist in America often whitewash and invisibilize the diverse, inclusive, and intersectional communities that lie at the heart of American Buddhism.

Be the Refuge is both critique and celebration, calling out the erasure of Asian-American Buddhists while uplifting the complexity and nuance of their authentic stories and vital, thriving communities. Drawn from in-depth interviews with a pan-ethnic, pan-Buddhist group, Be the Refuge is the first book to center young Asian-American Buddhists' own voices. With insights from multi-generational, second-generation, convert, and socially engaged Asian-American Buddhists, Be the Refuge includes the stories of trailblazers, bridge-builders, integrators, and refuge-makers who hail from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds.

Championing nuanced representation over stale stereotypes, Han and the 89 interviewees in Be the Refuge push back against false narratives like the Oriental monk, the superstitious immigrant, and the banana Buddhist - typecasting that collapses the multivocality of Asian-American Buddhists into tired, essentialized tropes. Encouraging frank conversations about race, representation, and inclusivity among Buddhists of all backgrounds, Be the Refuge embodies the spirit of interconnection that glows at the heart of American Buddhism.

©2021 Chenxing Han (P)2021 North Atlantic Books

Critic Reviews

"In this impressive debut, Buddhist chaplain Han offers an illuminating analysis of the intersection of race and privilege within American-Buddhist communities." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"Be the Refuge is first and foremost a celebration. Han’s interviewees descend from numerous countries, followed various paths to their faith, practice in different ways, and often question the validity of their own identity; but Han argues - compellingly and joyfully - that all contribute to a diverse and thriving American Buddhism." (Booklist)

"An eye-opening read for anyone under the false impression that American Buddhism is primarily the province of whites." (Kirkus Reviews)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-08-2021

A must read.

One of the critical books if you are practicing the dharma in the west, in my opinion.

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