America's Racial Karma

America's Racial Karma
Immediate, illuminating, and hopeful: this is the key set of talks given by leading Zen Buddhist teacher Larry Ward, PhD, on breaking America's cycle of racial trauma.

As an 11-year-old child, Zen Buddhist teacher Larry Ward was shot at by the police for playing baseball in the wrong spot. As an adult, he experienced the trauma of having his home firebombed by racists. At Plum Village Monastery in France--the home in exile of his teacher, Vietnamese peace activist and Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh--Dr. Ward found a way to heal. In these short reflective essays, he offers his insights on the effects of racial constructs and answers the question: How do we free ourselves from our repeated cycles of anger, denial, bitterness, pain, fear, violence?

"I am a drop in the ocean, but I'm also the ocean," he says. "I'm a drop in America, but I'm also America. Every pain, every confusion, every good and every bad and ugly of America is in me. And as I transform myself and heal and take care of myself, I'm very conscious that I'm healing and transforming and taking care of America. I say this for American cynics, but this is also true globally. It's for real."

Here, Ward looks at the causes and conditions that have led us to our current state and finds, hidden in the crisis, a profound opportunity to reinvent what it means to be a human being. This is an invitation to transform America's racial karma.

Publication Date: 
September 15, 2020
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