The Angry Asian Buddhist who Isn’t Anymore

Aaron Lee blogged under the name “Arunlikhati”  at his blog, Angry Asian Buddhist.  From what I’ve heard from those who met him, he wasn’t really angry.  He was frustrated, mainly about the way Asian American Buddhists are represented in Buddhist organizations and media.

He’d been battling cancer for over a year.  He died last Saturday.  He was 34.

I didn’t agree with everything Aaron wrote.  At the same time, he changed my mind about some things.  Definitely made me re-think some of my preconceived notions.  I never met him.  I have the feeling he had a good heart.  He wrote this in the section of his blog called “Why I’m Angry”:

“[Asian American Buddhists] are angry when they hear people write about the history of Buddhism in America without reference to the hundreds of thousands of Buddhist Asian Americans who have been and who continue to be the greatest part of American Buddhism.  Who will speak out for them when they’re ignored?  Who will stand up to let them know they’re not alone?  That’s why I’m the Angry Asian Buddhist.”

Bodhisattva words.

You might be interested to read this article about Aaron Lee published in Lion’s Roar earlier this year.

I thank you, Aaron, for blogging about the underrepresentation of Asian American Buddhists and all the other issues you focused on.  Everyone benefits from truth, and in that sense you were speaking out for all of us, standing up for all of us, to help liberate all of us.

My delight in death is far, far greater than
The delight of traders at making vast fortunes at sea,
Or the lords of the gods who vaunt their victory in battle;
Or of those sages who have entered the rapture of perfect absorption.
So just as a traveler who sets out on the road when the time has come to go,
I will not remain in this world any longer,
But will go to dwell in the stronghold of the great bliss of deathlessness.
– The Last Testament of Longchenpa