Chants and dharma songs have played an important role in every Buddhist culture, addressing suffering, joy, and liberation in ways that speak to the heart. In this retreat we will explore the Social Protest songs of the Civil Rights Movement, songs of suffering, joy, and liberation, as dharma gates. These songs emboldened people across the world to lift up their heads, claim their humanity, and declare hope in spite of the realities of generational racial trauma. Crying out, and singing strong for social justice, voting rights, democracy, and freedom, this music inspired millions to move their bodies, minds, and spirits towards social action to transform society. This program invites participants into an exploration of liberation through the history of movement songs, Buddhist meditation, active listening, and being with the sacred tradition of African American Spirituals. Sessions will provide historical contexts for music inspired by the Spirituals tradition and invite practitioners into heart transformation as music becomes a base for mindful meditation, joy, and spiritual friendship. No musical training is required– just an appreciation for music and song.
This retreat will be open to BIPOC and, because of the subject matter, will center the experiences of those for whom the spirituals and freedom song tradition is a ‘home.’ Also, we acknowledge the particularly complex relations between these traditions and the lives of LGBTQIA, queer, transgender, and gender nonconforming practitioners while naming that this retreat will be a space of affirmation and celebration for those practitioners.