Woman Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Priest

This story was originally posted at the E-sangha forum, but I wanted to repost here to a wider audience. It’s about a British woman who married a Japanese man in Japan, and started a family, before becoming ordained as a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist priest herself. I thought it was a pretty cool story, and inspirational to women who want to pursue Buddhism and be priests themselves.

It also underscores some “interesting” beliefs that people have about inter-racial marriage. The comment about bi-racial kids being deformed was amusing to me, given that bi-racial kids have “healthier” DNA than non-bi-racial kids.1 At least I think my little girl is healthy and cute, and certainly not deformed. It just shows how ignorant people about other cultures, but the story has a happy ending as people learn to accept the new priest and the community grows from it.

Ignorance is caused when we believe others are different or somehow “not like us”, which causes a sense of separation, which leads to other issues. Buddhism teaches that all beings are interdependent, so we can’t live without others. We literally can’t be who we are without them. So, it’s nice to see two people from two different cultures coming together like this.


Namu Amida Butsu

1 – My first full-time job was computer technician in a micro-biology research lab, and one time I asked this question to a senior researcher there. He told me, basically the reason why inbreeding is bad is because both parents are likely to have the same gene flaws, so those “flaws” are more likely to be expressed. Inter-racial coupling has the opposite effect. The two parents have different flaws in their DNA so flaws are less likely to be expressed. Of course, it takes many generations to really have a noticeable difference, but theoretically at least bi-racial kids are more healthy. The problem is that people’s beliefs about cultural superiority or “purity” always get in the way. :(

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2 Comments on “Woman Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Priest”

  1. arunlikhati says:

    I am always amused by other people’s conception of hapa kids, as I’m guessing you are by now. I’m also glad to see you use the term bi-racial — I prefer biracial/bicultural or multiracial/multiethnic to terms like “mixed.” In a lot of Asian languages, the default term is “mixed.” I once tried to say that I was “multicultural” in Vietnamese, only to get the reply, “Oh, you mean you’re mixed!”

  2. Kendall says:

    Indeed, mutts often make for a better pet than a pure-breed. The same thing can be applied to humans. Except you may not want to think of your child as a pet.

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