Ann Gleig and Joy Brennan
The strands of thought linking Buddhist liberation from suffering and the aims of social justice are aligned with the Buddha’s realization that “I and all beings at once enter enlightenment,” affirming the interdependent nature of reality. Yet despite our best intentions, why do deeply embedded habit formations—and inherent bias— continue to arise and perpetuate suffering? This harmful trend exists in primarily white, cis-gender dharma communities where BIPOC and LGBTQ practitioners can feel marginalized, unless and until this trend is directly addressed and disrupted. Healing is possible, but first must come an understanding of how the mind perpetuates suffering. How do these strands of conditioned mind, and our intentions and capacity for realization, interrelate?
This evening presentation on the dynamics between Buddhist liberation and social justice was led by Soto Zen priest and Professor Joy Brennan, a specialist in Yogacara philosophy, and Professor Ann Gleig who specializes in Buddhism in America. The program took place on March 19 with over 80 participants on Zoom.
You can follow along with their presentations by downloading the attached Powerpoints as PDFs.
Both Dr. Gleig and Dr. Brennan donated their honorarium to the MRO Fund for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice. The DEIJ Fund exists to address historical economic inequities for Black, Indigenous, Asian and other People of Color, particularly in the United States. It is intended to provide ease and support of spiritual practice in this Zen Buddhist community by providing funds for visiting BIPOC teachers and retreat leaders and for BIPOC residencies.