using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : May 2019
Good intentions aren’t enough. The cul- ture of the community must make diver- sity a reality. CRYSTAL JOHNSON on the hard work of building a culture of “radical inclusion” at East Bay Meditation Center. “To build community requires vigilant aware- ness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.” —bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope AT THE EAST BAY Meditation Center in down- town Oakland, we’re working to build a “radically inclusive” sangha. This requires more than good- will and a desire to be diverse. It means we have to tackle this profound problem: virtually every aspect of how we are in the world is culturally coded in ways often invisible to us. Almost inescapably, our language, values, beliefs, tastes, and habitual behaviors express and reinforce our location in social hierarchies: hierarchies of gender, race, physical and cognitive ability, eco- Buddhist,” a first-person account of the obstacles faced by a blue-collared worker in meditation- based Buddhism, is required reading here. Second, centers need to think about acces- sibility on multiple levels: are there free and slid- ing scale events? How much time do practices require? Are teaching materials freely distributed? Is the center easily reachable by public transport? Third, teachers need to embrace the pragmatic benefits of Buddhism. I have heard many Bud- dhists snigger about people doing mindfulness practice for stress reduction or chanting for job promotions. This patronizing dismissal of real- world needs is a major barrier to working-class participation. Heralding retreat as the ultimate Buddhist practice and realizing no-self as the only valid religious goal is a sure way to reinforce not only religious but also class hierarchies. Closely related is teaching the dharma in ways that translate into modern life. As one practitioner put it, “Speak directly to people’s everyday experi- ences and needs in the plain, everyday language that they speak.” I vividly remember how alienat- ing it was listening to a teacher chastising practi- tioners for being too attached to their retirement savings when I was a mature student living hand to mouth. Given that around 50 percent of Ameri- cans report having no retirement savings, I’m sure my response wasn’t unique. Finally, community building is essential. A repeated need expressed amongst blue-collared practitioners is for Buddhist centers to provide child care, as many Christian churches do. As one mother explained, “We would end up at a church because our local Zen center didn’t have child care at the time.” Recognizing that class has always mattered in Buddhism and bringing more consciousness to how class preferences and prejudices operate in American Buddhist sanghas can push meditation- based lineages beyond the Upper-Middle Way. It can also increase appreciation for the forms of Buddhism flourishing in the United States that have already made Buddhism relevant to econom- ically and socially marginalized communities. The Infrastructure of Inclusion nomic resources, education, and others. The more power we have, those of us who are straight, white, cisgender, male, property-owning, physically able, etc., the more likely we are to see our conditioned behavior as “the norm,” and to unconsciously cre- ate organizations that perpetuate a system of domi- nation based on these hierarchies. Because we cannot see our own conditioning through introspection alone, as it requires social interaction, creating a truly inclusive sangha requires active, ongoing collaboration among a diverse com- munity of teachers and dharma practitioners. The “peacefulness” of a quiet meditation hall needs to be balanced with the active and often messy process of peacemaking, as people struggle to become cultur- ally sensitive and to acknowledge multiple realities. East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) was founded by a diverse Leadership Sangha to “foster liberation, personal and interpersonal healing, social action, and inclusive community building.” The Leadership Sangha guided the articulation of explicitly agreed upon values and behaviors to emphasize inclusivity. One foundational value at EBMC is that all voices matter, and so it is a priority to address the LION’S ROAR | MAY 2019 74