The 2017 Order of Interbeing retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery was entitled Solid as a Mountain: Cultivating Equanimity and Wise Action. To deepen this theme, the ARISE core group was invited to present a workshop for the Sangha on “Engaging with Skill and Inclusivity.”
With interactive exercises, small group reflection, body sensation meditation, and whole group learning, we dug into what shapes a sense of inclusivity and what blocks it. Workshop attendees examined inclusivity and exclusivity through the lens of race in America.
As Sangha members, it is essential to understand the social dynamics that underpin our interpersonal interactions and spiritual communities. It is also necessary to have a shared vocabulary for these discussions. During the workshop, we looked at terms like prejudice, discrimination, oppression, racism, intersectionality, and micro-aggressions through the lens of our dharma practice in the Plum Village tradition. This was one way to practice building Beloved Community and entering the Ultimate Dimension without trying to skip over and ignore the Historical Dimension, as Thay teaches us to do.
This workshop was one small step in the direction of becoming a truly inclusive Sangha that can hold discomfort and uncertainty while continuing the path of the Bodhisattva. We hope to develop this Dharma Door for our whole community moving forward.
Watch the video of the workshop here: https://youtu.be/qi1TaYZVDLo