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Buddhadharma : Winter 2011
BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 11 52 awareness that may be fine, but if I’m in the business of teach- ing and creating opportunities for people to experience deep practice in the dharma, that’s not fine. It didn’t work for me any longer, so with New Dharma we took a different tack to make sure that practice remained in the forefront. That’s true across the board, not only in terms of our diversity but politics and everything else that could start to usurp our attention. BOB AGOGLIA: As I look at where our society stands with respect to issues of race and racism, it seems we have a long, long way to go before the wounds and the suffering caused by racism will heal. It seems that overall, in the U.S. at least, white people are mostly unwilling or unable to address the depth of this, yet it is something that white people have to confront, understand, and unlearn. We are a long way from that happening on a large scale. I can’t foresee a time, then, when a place like IMS would not need to offer a people of color retreat. Retreats for groups who are oppressed by the dominant culture in the society may be what will make it possible for these people to experience transformative retreat practice at IMS. LARRY YANG: Identity-based retreats are such a gateway into practice for people, especially for people who are rela- tively unfamiliar both culturally and spiritually with what the dharma has to offer. From there, they can go into other mainstream retreats and begin to practice beyond the identity- based form. At the last dharma talk of each of these retreats, I usually say that these retreats are precious dharma gates into your spiritual life. The invitation is not to attach to the door itself, but to walk through that door—one of the 84,000 gates into the dharma. AMANDA RIVERA: Obviously this is a really complex issue, and even though I think we’re doing pretty well at SGI in terms of One of the things that makes Soka Gakkai International unique is its diversity. When I look around I can see an African American, an Asian, a lesbian, gay, or transgender person, a young person, an elderly person, a Hispanic person, and more. —Amanda Rivera PHOTO ROB HENDRY Soka Gakkai International gathering in Washington, D.C.