This weekend we will explore the internal and external work of turning our practice toward inequity and injustice in our world.
What Buddhism has to offer social transformation are practices for uprooting our shared harmful karmic habits as they are unconsciously replicated in the mind. In turn, our minds are not isolated, but conditioned by the inequitable and unjust social habits we wish to change. For personal or social transformation to be meaningful and lasting, we have to be a generous witness, relationally just, often painfully patient and always willing to bring the wholehearted effort of our Bodhisattva vow and zazen practice to bear on sources of harm. As Dogen instructs, we take the backwards step so that we might clearly discern the unconscious conditioning that fuels the harm we have renounced. Practicing in this way deepens wisdom and gives rise to actions that are compassionate and skillful. From this place we engage the whole of our community so that we can all support one another in cultivating the conditions for a compassionate and harmonious society. A fully realized compassion ultimately insists upon love and justice as expressions of the healing and aligning dharma in our human life. To realize love and justice we must fully engage both the mental and institutional causes of injustice. We must do the internal and societal work that reveals the conditions of the inequity and violence we wish to end. The Bodhisattva cultivates this just heart-mind in order to skillfully act and address the suffering felt daily by so many in our nation and world. This compassionate action and relationship in turn deepens the clarity and understanding necessary for our collective liberation. This exploration in dialogue and relational practices will be the focus of our time together. We encourage the whole sangha to join.
“Realizing Justice and Healing Our Histories of Violence” – Everyone is Welcome!
Friday Evening, July 6th: 6:00 – 9:00pm Led by Greg & Laura
Through conversation, small groups and other relational practices, we will lay out some of the broad areas of this work, explore the sangha’s wishes for socially engaged practice and discern the barriers you might feel exist to moving forward.
Saturday Morning, July 7th: 10:15am Dharma Talk by Greg Snyder
Saturday Afternoon, July 7th: 1:30 – 4:30pm – Led by Greg & Laura
Through conversation, small groups and other relational practices, we will explore the work of “undoing” internalized social habits of violence and domination as an expression of the Buddha’s request to uproot the causes of harm in ourselves. We will also do our collective best to identify manageable efforts the sangha feels are contextually appropriate to take up as a response to injustice and violence in your immediate community.
Sign Up HERE
Greg’s Bio: Greg Snyder is a dharma teacher and senior priest at Brooklyn Zen Center, as well as its co-founder and current President. He received priest ordination and dharma transmission from Teah Strozer and is a lineage holder in the Suzuki Roshi lineage of Soto Zen. Greg is the Senior Director and Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at Union Theological Seminary, where he directs the Masters of Divinity in Buddhism and Inter-religious Engagement as well as the Thich Nhat Hanh Program for Engaged Buddhism. He is also a co-founder of the Buddhist Action Coalition, whose mission is to organize and inspire compassionate Buddhist initiatives in advancing social, economic, and environmental justice for the benefit of all beings, undertaken through advocacy and nonviolent direct action. Greg is active with multiple interfaith and community networks organizing around peace-building, anti-violence and social justice initiatives. Greg’s practice of Zen and the dharma includes an understanding that personal and social liberation are a deeply integrated process of mutual unfolding. In addition to teaching in a formal Zen context, he has facilitated Undoing Whiteness and Undoing Patriarchy workshops and ongoing groups that focus on investigating self-identities that may unconsciously perpetuate societal suffering. His efforts include ensuring the dharma is truly available to everyone, supporting young people in practice, developing a community-responsive Zen center, and advocating for bringing the illumination of conditioning around patriarchy, racism and economic exploitation to the center of our Buddhist exploration of self. He is devoted to co-creating an American dharma movement that fully embraces a deep social engagement focused on transforming inequity, injustice, bias and violence in ourselves, our communities and the world.
Laura’s Bio: Laura O’Loughlin is a dharma teacher and senior lay practitioner at Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC), as well as its co-founder. Before she began training with Teah Strozer, Laura was a student of Darlene Cohen’s. She is also a psychotherapist, affiliated with the Buddhist Psychotherapy Collective, with her own practice in Manhattan. As a clinician, Laura uses mindfulness and body-oriented practices to support healing and transformation and address developmental and societal trauma. Before co-founding Brooklyn Zen Center, Laura had trained and lived in various Buddhist communities since 1997, including Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery and San Francisco Zen Center. Laura was also Director of Austin Zen Center, where among other things she studied the interface between eastern and western psychologies. Laura received lay dharma entrustment from Teah Strozer in 2017. In her current work, Laura is interested in how trauma modalities can support our collective healing from histories of racist and patriarchal violence. Laura co-facilitates the undoing whiteness group at BZC and leads retreats exploring patriarchal trauma and affirming the sacred feminine.