One of the ways that the Buddha taught freedom is through telling stories. He shared tales of devotion, renunciation, transformation, and transcendence, stories that were preserved and shared across generations and generations of Asian Buddhist practitioners. We bow to these lineages, and celebrate our good fortune to learn from these stories still.
As Black people, this time honored tradition of telling freedom stories feels rich and familiar. Meditation and storytelling are practices that have been a part of healing and transformation for us too, for centuries. Stories reminded us of who we really were when colonization and enslavement tried to erase us, and they have guided us on freedom journeys both physical and spiritual throughout the African diaspora.
In these times of increasing intensity, stories have the power not only to remind us of our humanity — what we love, what’s important to us — but also to help us shape the world we want and need, the world that is almost here and is begging to be spoken into existence.
In this weekend retreat led by and for Black people, we will meditate, tell our stories, and meditate some more.
Our dharmic framework will be the Buddha’s teachings on spiritual friendship, or Kalyana Mitta. This teaching states that the true spiritual friend is one who can “tell you their secrets” and “keep your secrets” — which is to say, can give and receive the real and intimate truths of our lived experiences.
Our storytelling will center our experiences and our dreams of liberating relationships — what it is to come into radical friendship with ourselves, with each other, with all people and with the land itself.
What if we viewed these times of crisis as an opportunity to bring the clarity that comes from meditation to the power that comes from storytelling?
"These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us is called upon to embrace the conviction that despite the powers and principalities bent on commodifying all our human relationships, we have the power within us to create the world anew."
— Grace Lee Boggs
Transportation Assistance: We are happy to offer multiple ways of increasing accessibility to the BCBS campus. We will share a ride share page specific to this retreat. Barre Center for Buddhist Studies will also provide a single van shuttle ride to and from BCBS on opening and closing day to Boston for those who are unable to find a ride using the rideshare boards. The page and van pickup information will be shared with you upon registration.