Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Pamela Ayo Yetunde is an associate editor at Lion’s Roar and the author of Casting Indra’s Net: Fostering Spiritual Kinship and Community. She is the co-editor of Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation and Freedom and has written other books and articles about being Black and Buddhist. Ayo is a pastoral counselor and is the founder of Marabella StoryCraft (


Recent Articles

True Liberation: Black & Buddhist in America

Recently the nonprofit organizatoin Dharma Relief awarded fellowships to Black Buddhist leaders for their work supporting Black communities. Here, Lion’s Roar’s Pamela Ayo Yetunde hosts a roundtable conversation with four of those fellows: Jean Marie Robbins, Pamela Freeman, Ramona Lisa Ortiz-Smith, and Victoria Cary. Bringing their lived experience to bear, they talk about how Buddhist practice is helping Black people heal from the impact of racism and discover inner peace.

The Five Remembrances

To change your life now and prepare for the inevitable, says Pamela Ayo Yetunde, regularly contemplate these five home truths.

The Black Onyx in the Triple Gem

Lion's Roar associate editor Pamela Ayo Yetunde introduces the May 2024 “Black & Buddhist” issue.

We Remember: Six Remarkable Black Buddhists

In celebration of Black History Month, we find inspiration in the lives and practice of six remarkable Black Buddhists.

Right Here With You: Buddhist Chaplains’ Inspiring Stories of Spiritual Care

What’s it like to provide spiritual care in hospitals, hospices, prisons, and beyond? Seven Buddhist chaplains share their moving stories.

Why Buddhists Should Celebrate Juneteenth

Pamela Ayo Yetunde reflects on why Buddhists of all backgrounds should celebrate Juneteenth, a US federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Watch: “The Heart-Mind is a Wonderful Thing to Gain” offers compassion teachings by Black Buddhist teachers

This free series offers helpful compassion teachings from Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Jan Willis, Christian Howard, and Cheryl A. Giles.

How Do We Cultivate Dharma Teachers?

Ven. Pannavati, Rev. Blayne Higa, Rev. Myokei Caine-Barrett, and Kakumyo Lowe-Charde explore the complexities of guiding others toward leadership roles.

Buddhist Sangha as Refuge for LGBTQ+ People

Pamela Ayo Yetunde reflects on the recent shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, sharing how Buddhists can work to create a community of refuge for LGBTQ+ people.

Beginning a Buddhist Pedagogy for the Privileged Oppressed

Pamela Ayo Yetunde explores how Buddhist pedagogy is an essential framework for Buddhist teachers to educate themselves and their communities about our criminal justice systems.

The Buddha in America

Pamela Ayo Yetunde reflects on the future of community in Buddhism in the opening editorial from the September 2022 issue of Lion's Roar.

Right Remembering: An Antidote to Scapegoating’s Erasure

Lion's Roar associate editor Pamela Ayo Yetunde discusses "right remembering" and how it impacts our collective memory for George Floyd.

Celebrating Juneteeth 2022 with Reflections on Martin Luther King, Jr.

African American Buddhist practitioners Jan Willis, Thomas Davis IV, and Larry Ward reflect on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the lens of the dharma.

Revolutionaries of Love

Lion's Roar associate editor Pamela Ayo Yetunde introduces the May 2022 issue.

The Traveling Nunk Is Still Traveling (Part II): A Q&A with Sister Clear Grace Dayananda

In the introduction to the first conversation, I wondered whether Sister Clear Grace would find sustaining generosity for this mission from Buddhists and non-Buddhists. I wondered what might be gained by the non-Buddhist strangers who would be in conversation, perhaps for the first time, with a Black Buddhist monastic defying gender norms talking about racial,…

Ubuntu: I Am Because We Are

The African philosophy of ubuntu teaches that we are human only through the humanity of others. Buddhists of African descent explore the synergy between ubuntu and the Buddhist teachings on interdependence.

Yes, She Was a Powerful Woman! A Dedication to bell hooks

Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Kamilah Majied, Lori Perine, and Zenzele Isoke reflect on the profound life and legacy of bell hooks.

The Traveling Nunk: Sister Clear Grace and Pamela Ayo Yetunde in Conversation

Pamela Ayo Yetunde talks to Sister Clear Grace about the journey to becoming a Buddhist nun and hitting the road in a temple on wheels.

Helping Hands

Five Buddhist teachers who’ve made helping others through social and political action a keystone of their practice.

Harvard’s Buddhism and Race Conference Experiences a Radical Re-Orientation

Lion's Roar speaks with the co-organizers of Harvard University’s Buddhism and Race Conference, discussing the "Radical Re-Orientation Speaker Series."

My Grandmother’s Hands: Resmaa Menakem and Pamela Ayo Yetunde in Conversation

Menakem discusses the practices and insights shared in his NYT bestseller, "My Grandmother's Hands."

Bringing Right and Wise Intention to POC Sanghas

In this excerpt from her new book co-edited with Cheryl A. Giles, "Black and Buddhist," Pamela Ayo Yetunde offers advice for POC considering entering a dharma community, and shares the importance of utilizing Right Intention when doing so.

Buddha facing African-American woman.

Buddhism in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter

We need to update the traditional narrative of the Buddha’s life, says Pamela Ayo Yetunde, for people who know suffering all too well. She offers some alternative stories for the time of #BlackLivesMatter.

Noble Black Manhood: A New Rite of Passage

Diversity is more than just representation. It’s about really meeting the needs of different communities. Pamela Ayo Yetunde suggests how Buddhism can address the mass incarceration of young black men and its terrible costs.

Illustration of a retreat house.

What About the Cost of Retreats?

Many practitioners can’t afford to go on retreats. Pamela Ayo Yetunde says it’s time we start thinking about how to make the practice less exclusive.

Buddhists Helping Buddhists

Pamela Ayo Yetunde reviews "A Thousand Hands: A Guidebook to Caring for Your Buddhist Community." From the Summer 2017 issue of Buddhadharma.