In the Summer 2011 “Letter from the Editor,” Tricycle’s Editor and Publisher James Shaheen wrote:

We are quite familiar with the stereotype of North American “convert Buddhists” as white, middle-class, middleaged, college-educated, urban, meditation-oriented, and so forth. But one thing that became clear as the Tricycle website developed is that Buddhism in the West is far more diverse than is often recognized by mainstream publications like The New York Times and by Buddhist publications like Tricycle. Indeed, it has become apparent that there is a lot of “Buddhism in the West” that is not in the West at all. For the Buddhist conversation to overcome its inertia and recognize its diversity, we as a community must actively encourage inclusiveness. As part of this effort, we encourage community members who in significant ways don’t fit the stereotypical profile to write to us at

We want to hear about your experience; we want to know your thoughts; we want to think with you about how to jettison some of the prejudices that hinder—and indeed misrepresent—the life of our community.

The call was heard. After the Summer issue hit newsstands we received responses from many of you, some of which will be featured in the “Letters” department of the upcoming Fall 2011 issue. But we want more. In order to truly build a thriving community of Buddhists online we need to be able to connect with you. Only then will we be able to commit to you. As this interview with Atula Shah, a Tricycle Community member from Nairobi, Kenya, shows us, our community is well on its way to becoming as diverse and inclusive as we envision it being. But, of course, we can always improve.

Tell us your story.

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