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Category: Race & Culture
  1. Do you practice Female Genital Mutilation?
  2. Are there any restrictions placed on women?
  3. *I was wondering is RACE an issue in initiation?
  4. Is the Vodou seperate of the culture?
  5. I am a new practicing Buddhist in the Tibetan tradition. I am an African-American . . . I am feeling drawn to Traditional African spiritual practices. Is there a contradiction between Buddhism and Vodoun of West Africa?
  6. Does Vodou cosmology believe in the transmigration of the soul . . . meaning that one can reurn a different race, gender, or species?
  7. I am in an interracial relationship. Does this prohibit me or my partner from being in this tradition?



  1. Do you practice Female Genital Mutilation?
    No.

    There has never been, nor is there presently, any initiatory rite, or custom (vodou or ancestral) that requires FGM (female genital mutilation) in the Vodoun Religion. This social practice was outlawed in Togo,by a Nov 17, 1998 law making it illegal. Though, it still exist in very small but remote populations in Togo,it is not a common practice amongst the general population, and today is generally frowned upon.

    Category: Race & Culture
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  2. Are there any restrictions placed on women?

    No. Though women are (oftentimes)oppressed in many parts of Africa, the Vodou often becomes the great equalizer. Women are initated into Fa (Ifa), and to all of the Vodous, and at all ranks. In fact, it is Mamaissii Hounons who initiates, set-up shrines, conduct ceremonies, and "open the mouth" of the vodou, etc., and hold the same status and power (usually more) as men.

    Category: Race & Culture
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  3. *I was wondering is RACE an issue in initiation?

    Race has absolutely no bearing on who is initiated into the Vodoun Religion.

    Category: Race & Culture
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  4. Is the Vodou seperate of the culture?

    Though Hollywood & popular culture have left the univeral impression that African religions are secret, blood-letting "cults." In truth, all African Traditional "Religions" are actually inseperable from the way of life for the African. They are not seperate, mysterious nor dichotomous (dualistic)paths/vocations as are common in most Western-based religions.

    To understand African "Religions" in their proper context, it is necessary to understand the culture in which it incorporates itself.

    For more links to Dahomean culture and religion CLICK HERE

    Category: Race & Culture
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  5. I am a new practicing Buddhist in the Tibetan tradition. I am an African-American . . . I am feeling drawn to Traditional African spiritual practices. Is there a contradiction between Buddhism and Vodoun of West Africa?


    Black Buddhist Deity Fudo Myo'o

    Most African Traditional Religions can co-exist with many religious systems, as is evident in West Africa today, where one will find a Christian leaving church to make sacrifices to their family dieties and Ancestors, or a Muslim offering libation to theirs.

    Spiritual disciplines designed to relieve personal and universal suffering, such as in following the �Eightfold Path� practiced by many sects in Buddhism, is not a contradiction to either the Vodoun nor Mami Wata tradition.

    These virtues are also no more unique to Buddhism, as Morality is to Christianity. These tenents exists within ATRs (African Traditional Religions) as well, and may even have their early genesis in Africa.

    Conversely, in spite of the media�s overemphasis on the �magical� aspects of Vodoun, there are levels, both mystical and practical, in which one can see the parallelism between Buddhism�s historical development, and its ancient African origins.

    Additionally, though certain Buddhist sects tend to downplay its early significance, there were a variety of �magical and ritual arts,� utilized and incorporated into Buddhism�s early practice which is very similar to Vodoun.

    For example, the use of magical incantations to call upon deities known as the Myo-o for both personal protection, and community defense against witchcraft and sorcery was widely practiced by many advanced Buddhists priests (monks).

    These deities would indeed manifest and come to their defense, many armed with a variety of unique weapons.

    This � Myo-o� was associated with the Kurai Kotori Clan, known as �Fudo Myo-o, meaning the � Unmoving Illuminating King.�

    What is important and interesting to note, is that few practicing Buddhists today even know that this �Unmoving Illuminating King� diety (Fudo Myo-o), was an African.

    He was known in China as �Fire� or the immovable fire. What is even more interesting, is that one of Fudo Myo�o�s particular implement was the thunderbolt, which he holds in his right hand.

    Similarly, in Vodoun, the Thunderbolt is also the implement of Heviosso, our �Thunder god�, and is considered one of the most powerful gods in the West African Vodoun pantheon.

    Fudo Myo-o in the above photo also holds a staff implement coiled by a serpent. Of course, many Vodoun practitioners will quickly recognized this symbol as the Rainbow Serpent Spirit Da (Dan), the deity who encompasses many powerful attributes of health, wealth, movement (rhythm) creativity and wisdom, not to mention representing the collective embodiment of our African ancestors.

    Indeed, it would greatly benefit African-Americans, and those interested in unearthing the hidden past of Africa�s early religious influence on the major religions, to learn more about, to embrace and not shun nor forget their own indigenous roots, as they seek out a suitable spiritual path.

    In doing so, they will find that they greatly compliment rather than contradict many of the so-called modern spiritual tenents such as those found within contemporary Buddhism.

    Finally, below are links for further research and study for AA�s and others interested in Buddishism from an African American perspective.

    http://www.proudblackbuddhist.org/Buddhist_The Black Buddhist Deity Fudo Myo'o

    http://www.butterflyjournal.com/15_choyin_rangdrol.htm Article: Choyin Rangdrol Racism in Buddism

    http://home.earthlink.net/~srama/ Essentials of Buddhism

    http://www.proudblackbuddhist.org/ African & African-American Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist Web Site

    CONTACT US

    Category: Race & Culture
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  6. Does Vodou cosmology believe in the transmigration of the soul . . . meaning that one can reurn a different race, gender, or species?

    No. In West African Vodoun cosmology the concept of soul transmigration is foreign. This concept goes against the entire system of ancestral reincarnation and deity lineage through their own blood/kin/spiritual progeny. It is also known by West African & Diaspora Vodoun adepts that one remains the same gender, race and species throughout the entire duration of their soul existence.
    Category: Race & Culture
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  7. I am in an interracial relationship. Does this prohibit me or my partner from being in this tradition?
    Absolutely not. The world and law of the spirits and ancestor\'s is different from that of humans. The world have been conditioned to view \"race\" as the defining feature of a human, whereas the spirit sees \"the character and condition of the soul,\" as the primary criteria. That is all that matters.
    Category: Race & Culture
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