Dr. King famously said, “Our goal is to build a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative shift in our hearts and a quantitative shift in our lives.” Bias remains a chief obstacle for us to advance towards this goal in our Dharma communities, workplaces, families, and even within ourselves.
Over the last two decades, the science of implicit bias has demonstrated that bias is one of the root causes of inequities and injustices that pervade our society. These inequities create and sustain the samsaric cycles of cruelty, indifference, hatred, and jealousy within institutions as well as in our own hearts and minds. Amidst the hyperpolarization around us, the brahmaviharas provide each one of us the medicine to heal from the defilements and open our heart-mind, despite the conditioning of our outer environment, to become members of a “beloved community.”
The brahmaviharas are a cornerstone of the Buddhist path of freedom. They offer us a gateway to move from our heads into our bodies and hearts. They include loving-kindness (metta), equanimity (upekha), sympathetic joy (mudita), and compassion (karuna). In this five-week program, we will delve deeper into each one of the brahmaviharas through daily meditation practice, studying the suttas together with the science of implicit bias, and weekly discussions and reflections with one another.
Each week’s gathering will consist of breakout groups to strengthen intimacy within our sangha and to appreciate an embodied experience of the brahmaviharas in real time.
Attendance is required in every session. Participants are expected to complete about one hour of work for each session, and a build a daily brahmavihara meditation practice.