With long blond hair, steel-blue eyes, and a traditional Japanese yukata robe, Patrizio Pellouchoud blends right in.
Moving his arms rhythmically with more than 100 others, he celebrated the Buddhist holiday of Obon through folk dance, which he called a spiritual "way of looking back to look forward."
"It's fun, because nobody's telling you you're making a wrong move" he said.
Fifty years ago, Pellouchoud would have been the blond head in a sea of black-haired Japanese dancers, but the times are changing, said Emiko Katsumoto, 64, who attends the Berkeley Buddhist Temple.
"When I was a young girl, it was all Japanese," she said.
Now Pellouchoud, who attends service at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple, is among a multi-ethnic array of dancers: black, white, Asian, Hispanic and mixtures in between.
Founded in 1911, the Berkeley Buddhist Temple has been an enduring fixture of the Japanese-American community in Berkeley, but it also contains a long history of a trend toward multi-ethnic inclusion.
In the 1960s, the Berkeley Buddhist Temple founded the Buddhist Study Center, which attracted UC Berkeley students and non-Japanese Berkeley locals, including Beat Generation poet Gary Snyder. The center published a Buddhist journal, Busei, which featured poetry by young, non-Japanese American Buddhists, said Reverend David Matsumoto of the temple.
Snyder's friendship with Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac was portrayed in the book "The Dharma Bums." Snyder was portrayed as Japhy, a Berkeley resident studying Buddhism.
Since then, temple members have noticed an increasing number of newer members are not fully Japanese and some are not even Japanese at all, said Emiko Katsumoto.
Matsumoto said Buddhism has an appeal that goes beyond racial boundaries.
"It's part of a spiritual movement beyond a purely materialistic world," he said.
He cites the growing number of so-called "nightstand Buddhists" in the United States, who are people who read and study Buddhist practices without necessarily identifying themselves as worshipping Buddhists.
"There's more of a willingness among Americans to sample (different religions)," he said.
Another element of racial diversification is an increase in inter-racial marriage within the community.
"I guess you could say I married into it," said Craig Griffin, 52, as he watched his mixed-race daughter prepare for the dance festival. "Berkeley is the miscegenation capital of the world," he joked.
The youngest generation of Japanese Buddhists at the temple is not only mixed-race, said Katsumoto, as she stood in the temple's library, many of them do not understand the Japanese language as well. The majority of the books at the temple's library are written in English.
"There are changes with our children; they're moving further out, merging into the mainstream," she said.
She pointed out that the current temple, erected in the '60s, was built with Christian-inspired pews, an organ and a piano. Matsumoto attributes the changes in language and religious custom to a "concession to American life."
The community has been adaptive to concession and change. Matsumoto pointed out that "Buddhism is a way of life that gives greater emphasis on an inclusive perspective."
Obon festival dancer Devyn Wells said she thought the beautiful part of the dance was how inclusive it was. Any audience member could join.
"The beauty of the dance is that you can just dive in," said Wells.
By Matthew Peters
10 ways to control your anger - Professional expert’s advice
I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order to understand the anger phenomenon I decided to investigate the nature of anger, reasons of its appearing, key factors and anger management.
What does it mean this anger? Anger is a strong indignation feeling of our emotional sphere that is attended by self-control losing. Anger is a signal of our state. Glands produce an array of hormones that have a great and deep effect on all our body. The main participants of this process are adrenaline and cortisol. They activate cardiovascular system and consequently all organs. Adrenalin causes fast heart beating, rising blood pressure. These rich oxygenated blood streams to the places are responsible for reaction. Thus some extra energy is released.
There are 4 basic ways of anger expressions:
1. Straight and immediately (verbally or nonverbally) to show your anger. It gives an opportunity to free from the negative emotions.
2. To express anger in an indirect way. In this case usually suffer persons that are weaker, not dangerous and those ones who “come to hand”, usually they are our family and close relatives. Thus we hurt our dear ones. One of the best ways is to express your anger to the person who is the source of this very anger. If it is impossible- better find some compromise.
3. Restraining anger you “drive” it deep inside. So, negative emotions store will provoke a big stress sooner or later.
4. You may foresee situation of anger feeling, try not to expand this feeling but get to know the reason, understand and solve it. A Roman philosopher Seneca said: “When you are feeling of ascending “volcano”- stand still, not doing anything- not speaking, not moving.”
Anger is a normal and natural human feeling, especially nowadays as life is really fast and we have a huge amount of information to accumulate (in comparison with our previous generations). The range of anger is rather wide: from a slight annoyance to impetuous fury. Anger can be quick and long, lasting for years in form of bitterness, vengeance or hate. Anger can lead to health issues like depression, high blood pressure, hearth diseases, stresses, alcohol dependence and obesity. If you are anger- express it. If you feel discomfort from these “negative splashes”- then we can give some techniques how to manage your emotional anger:
- 1. Take a deep and continuous breath. Count up to 50 or imagine your aggressor just naked, only in socks. This will help you to calm and smile.
- 2. Have a walk. Look at high sky. Continue to breathe deep and easily. So you appraise the situation and calm down.
- 3. Do some physical exercises. When you are angry- your body is very tensed and tough. If you stretch your muscles it will relax your body, as you will spill out all your negative energy into action. Your brains will get more oxygen and it assists to clear your thoughts.
- 4. Write down all your thoughts. Write down that you are mad and why. Avoid being rational, logical or laconic. Write on paper all you are feeling this moment. Try to write all in details. The function of this technique is to shift all your anger out of your head on paper.
- 5. Be grateful. Find someone to thank. Do you not forget about yourself. Thank that you have woken up today, thank that that the Sun is shining for you, that the sky is blue and the grass is green.
- 6. Prayer. Ask God to be with you during this anger moment and lead you.
- 7. Meditation. Close your eyes, look into solar plexus, and be all your anger, breathing deeply.
- 8. Change of places. Move yourself on your enemy’s place. And look at situation from his point of view. Better look at the situation from the ceiling. Focus on details, especially on funny and absurd ones. Strive to forgive your enemy as well as forgive truly yourself.
- 9. Go back to your childhood memories. Recollect state when you were angry. Hug this child and say: “All is ok. I am here. You are good child. I love you and I will not leave you.”
- 10. Your values. What is the most significant thing in your life? Who are the most important people in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Think and accept that point that you are living your life, and you are living your values. There is a good man inside you that wants to help you. I wish you good luck!
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