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.