Our Liberation is Intertwined – Interrupting the Karmic Momentum of Racism

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An Online Retreat for Order members and Mitras

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Our Liberation is Intertwined | Interrupting the karmic momentum of racism –

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” - Lilla Watson

(Watson has said of this quote that she was "not comfortable being credited for something that had been born of a collective process" and prefers that it be credited to "Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s).

Recently the Pan-American Chairs of Triratna published a statement about Black Lives Matter, as did the councils of the Portsmouth and Aryaloka Centers. We would like to offer our Order and Mitra community the opportunity to explore the topic of race in our lives, with the support of our practice and the Dharma. This is an invitation to co-create a space of learning, listening and bearing witness to one another. In particular, we might explore:

- how the concepts of vedana and samskara can support our understanding of implicit bias

- how practicing with the Two Truths and Form & Emptiness might illuminate the workings of social identities

- how the Four Noble Truths could be applied to the multi-layered suffering of racism

The program will be as follows:

Friday – Intro to the retreat + Puja to Liberation 6-8:30 (EDT)

Saturday – Meditation then Listening Circles 6-8:30pm (EDT)

Sunday – Listening Circles & Closing Meditation 6-8:30pm (EDT)

On Saturday and Sunday you will be invited to join small listening groups. One group will be reserved for BIPOC Order Members and mitras, facilitated by Manidha and others. The other groups will be for white and white presenting Order Members and mitras, facilitated by Suddhayu, Upayadhi and others.

We understand this structure might in some ways obscure the singular experiences of those who are racialized in ways beyond these categories, and that it does not encompass all the dimensions of our lived experience as socialized beings - such as class, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability, age and more. Still, we hope these Listening Circles will provide some support for our sangha at this time, as together we make a conscious effort to center the important topic of race, explore its complexity and impact, and how we can support each-other towards collective liberation.

If you would like to learn more about the practice of racial affinity groups, you might consult this resource, where Ruth King describes the value of this practice in Buddhist sanghas.

If you’d rather not book through Eventbrite, please email info@aryaloka.org to make other arrangements. You’ll receive a Zoom link a day or two before the retreat. This is offered by donation, $25-$250 suggested.

Painting detail from Several Circles by Wassily Kandinsky

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