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Buddhadharma : Winter 2014
winter 2 0 1 4 buddhadharma: the Practitioner’s quarterly 25 as harmful, and then we’re contending with that as leaders. lama rod oWens: We can be accused of being manipulative. “Why are you mak- ing me feel guilty? I’m not the one who followed you in the store. I’m not the one who pulled you over. I’m not the one who pulled the trigger. So why is it my problem? Can we all just”—and someone has asked me this—“why can’t we just understand we’re all the same?” I tell people, well, that’s great if you’re enlightened. You have an experience of sameness, but we’re living in this relative world and relative sangha, and there’s a problem when the only person of color in this room is me. And I’m on the cushion in front—how did I make it here? I think it’s difficult for a lot of practitioners of color to come into a group and tell their stories. It takes a lot. You just want to practice, but now you’re coming into a group as a change agent, and maybe you don’t want that. So you leave. angel Kyodo Williams: When we do all become the same, that’s when we will have arrived. Let’s work toward that. lama rod oWens: Right. All I really want is for us, regardless of who we are, to feel safe enough to tell our story, and for the sangha to be strong enough to hold that story and not sweep it away, not to run away from it, not to try to fix it, but sim- ply just be there, just be with it. That’s the transformative part of this for me. I mean, we’re nowhere near that. We talk about inclusion. We talk about diversity. But when I think about diversity, it’s not bringing in people of color off the street. That’s not diversity to me. Diver- sity is about inviting. Diversity is about welcoming. Diversity is when someone comes in, you can hold the space for that person and their experience. Period. angel Kyodo Williams: When we recog- nize that we’re able to do that for folks of color, it’ll become clear that we can do it for everyone. Visit our new website, lionsroar.com/BDwinter2014, to view the entire conversation. INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY IMS’s Forest Refuge program is for experienced meditators only. For more information, visit www.dharma.org or call 978-355-2063 Deepen your practice Experience a personal retreat at IMS’s Forest Refuge • Choose the length of your stay – retreat periods range from seven nights to a year or more • Develop an individual program of silent practice – supported by teacher talks and interviews • Balance solititude with community – meditate with others or in your private room • Strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance