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 workshop 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 workshop, 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.
Becoming Free Together: Refuge, Liberation, and Belonging
Dates: Sep 21, 2023 - Sep 24, 2023
Days: Thursday - Sunday
Number of Nights: 3 nights
Instructor(s): Duncan Ryūken Williams
Covid-19 Safety Protocol:
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.