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My personal goal was to become a Buddhist minister. Ministry is such an important word because it opens the door for counseling and conflict resolution and facilitation—all the things that ministers are trained to do in their congregations. The teacher suggested that this was something the young man struggled with outside of the sangha. The young man agreed.

A Guide to Meditation

The teacher advised him to just sit with what he was feeling. The young man wanted more and did sit with the feelings and knew that the sangha and that teacher were not safe. LRO : Actually, that young man was me.

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And that teacher could have taken responsibility for being the teacher of an organization that was struggling with issues of inclusivity and diversity. He could have said that I was justified in feeling marginalized. Yes, sit with it, but also this is a real issue that probably you, as a person of color, are the only one having to deal with. And to just acknowledge that. IJ: Is Western Dharma participating in the broader diversity movement, or is it a separate movement?

LRO : I think that the issues are the same because Western Buddhist communities are just an expression of the larger society. Maybe our methods will be different because our methods will be informed by Buddhadharma. But we should be making attempts to see our struggles within sanghas as very similar to the struggles in the general society around us. LRO : We have this incredible capacity to hold space for suffering. I see a lot of reaction in the larger movement.

Really, Radical Dharma came out of our intersectionality, where we have one foot in Black Lives Matter and one foot in the sangha movement. IJ: In your book, you and Rev.


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What kinds of responses did you get from white practitioners? How does it feel to you? Are we getting anywhere? LRO : I think we are getting somewhere—absolutely.

The Messy Buddha

It takes a lot of work. And I think it will continue to take a lot of work. We have to do it over and over again and put the work in. But we can alsobe developing ways of doing the work that are more sustaining and healing for us. LRO : Having communities created by people of color and then inviting others into that space. You can transform a structure by creating an alternative structure as a comparison. I see what you all are doing. I see what this really means. This dream of inclusivity—what does it look like? IJ: This entire interview so far has focused on diversity.

Do you get tired of just being asked about diversity all the time? And I feel that this is the conversation I need to be in.


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I also feel like a lot of people can teach basic Dharma, but not a lot of us can have these complex, nuanced conversations around identity and Dharma. LRO : One of the main ways we can help to nurture inclusive communities is by supporting and holding teachers accountable. Kate lives in theTexas Hill Country outside of Austin with her beloved partner of several decades, five dogs, and one ancient cat who actually sleeps on a hot tin roof. Browse Amazon for all formats. Searching for the Nook edition? Shaz Austin Davison.

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About the Author. Kate McLennan, D. Press the play button to watch the author's book video. So as you embark on your spring cleaning projects, put a little mindful spring in your step! Like this lady.

She would never dance with or celebrate new appliances. Or dance while polishing your floor. Visual clutter makes my head feel cluttered. I just need to clean them.

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Feng shui recognizes that our lives are profoundly impacted by the spaces we inhabit , and our homes can either enhance our life energy, or drain it. Clutter, disorder, and dirty certainly drain my life energy! For me, a clean and organized home allows my mind to quiet, and helps me live more peacefully. Harvard researchers have found we are happiest when thought and action are aligned. Or it could be the Valium. Try some aromatherapy — diffuse your favorite essential oils while you clean, or make your own natural cleaning products with your favorite scents.