Looking Back, Looking Forward

Looking Back on our Past

In July 2015, participants of the Northern California Sangha Facilitators Gathering began a discussion about the dynamics of race, power, and privilege within our sanghas. This was followed by a panel presentation called “Where Spirit Meets Action” in September, and a panel presentation with the four-fold community present at Deer Park Monastery in October. The tremendous response to these events, to the beginning of acknowledgement of the suffering of our Black and brown siblings, showed the ongoing need to address race, intersectionality, and social equity as dharma doors to our collective awakening. Hence, ARISE Sangha was formed in 2016 as a community of lay and monastic Plum Village practitioners dedicated to healing past traumas of racial injustice and its impact on all bodies, seeing with clarity, and transforming ourselves and our community.

Over the past five years, ARISE Sangha has offered to the mahasangha with the aim towards greater and inclusivity:

  • Newsletters containing resources for healing and better understanding racial justice and social equity
  • Financial support for practitioners of color to attend retreats, opening the gates of practice to a wider, more diverse audience
  • A 90-minute webinar on awakening through race, intersectionality, and social equity
  • Written pieces and guest editing by ARISE Core members for the Mindfulness Bell
  • A Call to Love in Action, in response to the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd by police
  • Sponsorship of the Contemplations of the 5 Mindfulness Trainings authored by Valerie Brown and Marisela Gomez
  • Supporting numerous local and virtual sanghas in understanding how racism and inequities manifest in our communities and the larger world and serving as a resource when conflicts over race have occurred in sanghas and at retreats.
  • A Love Letter In Response to the White Supremacist Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and Those Who Perpetrated Similar Acts of Violence Across the United States, as COVID-19 Deaths Exceed 4000 in a Single Day
  • Receiving proposals and building partnerships with others who are working on racial justice and social equity, including international relationships

Looking Forward towards our Future

ARISE Sangha remains committed to continuing to be a ‘presence’ in the Plum Village tradition, wholeheartedly and consistently with the mission of racial and social equity-socially engaged mindfulness as a dharma door for our collectively awakening. Some things we are currently working on:

  • A multi-part Training on Race as a Dharma Door
  • A List of Affinity Sanghas dedicated to LGBTQIA, BIPOC, and white awareness