ARISE Core Members Sister The Nghiem (True Vow) and Valerie Brown gave a Dharma talk on inclusivity at the “Road Ahead: Building Beloved Community” Blue Cliff retreat for Order of Interbeing members in April 2018.
Sr. The Nghiem reminds us that bringing the Dharma into daily life is at the core of the Plum Village tradition, and that in those who suffer and speak out about their suffering is the presence of the Buddha. It is an opportunity to listen, learn, and interbe — to choose that over complacency or indifference.
Even acknowledging another’s past and present suffering, their different lived experience, is a step toward healing and holding our community. That difference is something to be valued in the Sangha.
Valerie shares about her experience as a woman of Afro-Cuban descent, trying to assimilate into white culture, and how her inner and outer life changed after becoming a mindfulness practitioner. She offers a powerful story and two practices for becoming more inclusive: 1) Mindful breathing; and 2) Remember that every person has a story.