Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

Our Commitment to Moving Beyond the Fear of Differences

In these times of challenge and heightened uncertainty, we invite and welcome every person seeking refuge in the ancient teachings of wisdom and compassion to practice with our Sangha. The Mountains & Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism stands firmly against hatred and violence in all its forms.

Click here to read our Inclusion Statement.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in the Mountains and Rivers Order
As practitioners of the Buddhist path of wisdom and compassion, we are committed to examining and freeing ourselves from racism and other forms of oppression as they manifest within ourselves and our sangha. We are actively working to transform the culture of our community so that Zen Mountain Monastery and the Zen Center of New York City can serve as places of true spiritual refuge for all seekers of the Way, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, class or any other identity.

How are we transforming our culture?
Our Beyond Fear of Differences initiative has taken many forms, as you’ll see below and on our BFOD History page. Some of these focus on supporting and encouraging people’s individual work—such as affinity groups targeted to white people recognizing and shifting internalized bias. Other changes center on supporting, nourishing and strengthening the Black, Indigenous, Asian, and People of Color/Culture (BIAPoC) communities and the transgender and gender non-conforming and LGBTQIA+ communities within our sangha. Still other changes focus on shifting the structures and systems that guide training, practice and residential life at both Zen Mountain Monastery and Zen Center of New York City. 

To appreciate where we’re headed, it can be helpful to know where we’ve come from.
Click here for a historical overview of our Beyond Fear of Differences program.

Sangha Practice Groups

Please check this link to visit our Sangha Groups page, Staying Connected, which is regularly updated.

10 Values Guiding our Beyond Fear of Differences Work

  1. Trust—Cultivating and earning a confidence that we are working toward our mutual well-being and liberation (Listen to a talk by Shugen Roshi on this Value)
  2. Equity—To create just outcomes, we recognize that different treatment—including reparations—is sometimes required because of historical oppression and our varying positions in contemporary society. (Listen to a talk by Shugen Roshi on this Value)
  3. Courage—The ability to step forward, be vulnerable, tolerate discomfort, and hold space for new ideas. (Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of Shugen Roshi’s talks on this Value)
  4. Accountability—The Sangha—teachers, seniors, monastics, Board, students, Councils, practitioners—are mutually responsible for upholding these values and communicating with each other. (Listen to a talk by Shugen Roshi on this Value)
  5. Humility—Recognition of the depth of our own conditioning and the vastness of the path. (Listen to a talk by Shugen Roshi on this Value)
  6. Reverence—A deep respect for each other’s humanity and identities, and the transformative power of the Buddhadharma.
  7. Generosity—The willingness to embrace all our experiences of sangha with openness and appreciation; also the willingness to give and take in feedback on the impact of our actions as part of our dharma training.
  8. Whole Person Framework—In our study and liberation of the self, we recognize that because our social identities are not experienced in isolation, they cannot be examined in isolation.
  9. Cultural Fluency—Knowing that we live in a white supremacist culture and that our views are conditioned by power and privilege, we commit to our ongoing learning and understanding of each other’s cultural and ethnic identities.
  10. Authenticity—Truly being connected with our emotions, expressions, and experience.

Here are some other related resources:

We’ll be updating this page of our website as we go. If you have ideas, suggestions, or questions, please reach out to zmmtrain@dharma.net. We welcome your feedback.