In this time 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.
BIPOC Sangha Practice Group (for those who identify as black, indigenous, or a person of color), Wednesdays, Bimonthly, 6:30-8pm. An on-going meeting of sangha members who identify as BIPOC. Click Here to register and receive a Zoom link for the meeting. You can also email the group coordinators via firstname.lastname@example.org
LGBTQ+ Affinity Group Meeting A support and discussion group for anyone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community. We meet on Sunday’s after Sesshin from 1:30-3:00pm. Click Here to register and receive a Zoom link for the meeting. You can also email the group coordinators via email@example.com
What is Whiteness? Study Group The MRO’s online “What is Whiteness” group is an ongoing monthly inquiry – based in Dharma practice – into Whiteness and its many biases and blindspots. These meetings are for those who identify as white specifically because of the need for each other’s help to address their conditioning and to be of benefit in the world. These meetings are intended to be part of a personal and collective commitment to attend each meeting.
BFoD’s Vision and Mission is an evolving process. Check this page periodically for updates.
If you have questions, or resources you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some other related resources:
Read The History of BFoD: An Annotated Timeline of the Beyond Fear of Differences (BFoD) Initiative. The BFoD Planning Group created this document in preparation for the Sangha Forum that happened at Zen Mountain Monastery on Sunday, March 3, 2019.
In the summer of 2017, there was an urgent call to action made from sangha members of color to Mountains and Rivers Order leadership to address lingering diversity and equity gaps in the Order. These problem areas—as outlined by the sangha members of color—were identified as lack of teacher diversity, dharma talk content, challenges while participating in intensive retreats and residences, mentorship, and interactions with white sangha members at both Zen Mountain Monastery and Fire Lotus Temple that left some sangha members of color with feelings of hurt and invisibility due to their social identities.
This call to action was promptly and open-heartedly acknowledged by Shugen Roshi and other monastics. And in October of 2017, a group of monastics, and lay sangha members who identify as white and persons of color gathered at Zen Mountain Monastery for the first time together to begin the initial work (under the guidance of professional facilitators) to transform our sangha so that is more inclusive and welcoming of all—regardless of how we are positioned in the larger society based on our varied social identities.
This Beyond Fear of Differences (BFOD) group—which became a wider extension of Beyond Fear of Differences work that had begun on a smaller scale a few years prior—has been meeting regularly since then and working to critically assess the Order’s practices and to build a framework in which the entire sangha can participate in fostering transformation and growth.