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Becoming Free Together: Refuge, Liberation, and Belonging

Residential Program
Dates: Sep 21, 2023 - Sep 24, 2023
Days: Thursday - Sunday
Number of Nights: 3 nights

Instructor(s): Duncan Ryūken Williams

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Course Description:

In this inclusive space, we invite people of all backgrounds to explore how we become free together and where we find home. These have been enduring questions, especially for American Buddhists of Asian ancestry since the 1850s when the first Buddhist temples were built in the U.S. by immigrants and their descendants. For Asian American Buddhists, along with many others marginalized for different reasons, finding a place of refuge and belonging in a world often intent on exclusion was of primary importance. As with so many others, central to finding refuge and belonging was discovering that one does not walk the path of liberation alone, but is interlinked with family and communal practice. Refuge-Liberation is a program that brings insights from Buddhist Asian America to navigate the complexities of identity and to build an American Sangha that values multiplicity over singularity, hybridity over purity, and inclusivity over exclusivity. All are welcome to this program, which will integrate the study of Asian American Buddhist history and what we all can learn from this history, regardless of our own identity, as well as interactive exercises to explore identity and Buddhist ritual practices that enhance an expansive sense of belonging.

In order to create a diverse student body, 50% of the spaces will be held for BIPOC participants until two months before the program opening. At that time, held spaces will be opened to all participants including anyone on the waiting list.

Noble Silence:
Noble silence will be observed following each evening session through breakfast the following morning. Additional silent practice periods will be scheduled throughout the program.

Experience Level:
Suitable for beginning and experienced practitioners.

Cancellation Policy:
If you need to cancel your registration, please contact us as soon as possible. If you cancel two or more weeks before a program begins, cancellation fees are $50 for all programs longer than two nights and $25 for weekend programs. If you cancel less than two weeks before your program begins, your full deposit is forfeited. If you received financial assistance, cancellation fees are $50 for all programs longer than two nights and $25 for weekend programs. All cancellation fees support our Scholarship Funds.

Covid-19 Safety Protocol:
Please review our Covid-19 Safety Protocols here: https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/covid-19/.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Duncan Ryūken Williams was ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest at Kotakuji Temple (Nagano, Japan) in 1993. He served as a Buddhist chaplain at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2000. Currently, he is Professor in and the Chair of the USC School of Religion and Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture in Los Angeles. Previously, he held the Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at UC Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies.