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Living Our Histories, Shaping Our Futures: Buddhist Anti-Racist Practice
Dates: Oct 07, 2020 - Nov 11, 2020
Online Course

Instructor(s): Brian Lesage, Jessica Locke

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In 1963, James Baldwin wrote, “They are, in effect, trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it.” This was his devastating yet compassionate diagnosis of white racial ignorance, and it remains true today, nearly 50 years later. For white practitioners who are committed to liberation and compassion, relating clearly with this deeply complex issue of race is an essential part of our practice.  

In this contemplative workshop for white practitioners, we will be exploring the meaning of whiteness and race in our lives. We will draw on Buddhist teachings on emotions, perception, and mind as a foundation for exploring these topics and how to work with them. The course will include interactive and experiential components supported by weekly readings and reflections. In addition, participants are expected to devote 20-30 minutes each day to meditation, and one to two hours of assigned reading each week. Participants will need a basic understanding of key Buddhist teachings and some meditation background, including at least six months of regular or semi-regular practice.

Join us in this creation of a community committed to bringing the aspiration to practice for the benefit of all beings to the work of challenging and dismantling racism. 


Online Course: Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and teachers in our online courses. When registering for an online course, please note that you should plan to commit to attending all scheduled sessions.

The schedule of Zoom meetings for this course (shown in US Eastern Time), as well as the schedule for when content will be available, is as follows:

Meeting Schedule: Wednesdays, 7:30 – 9:30 pm, between October 7 and November 11

Meeting Dates: October 7, 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11

Please note that sessions will not be recorded.

  • Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000.  He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma.

  • Jessica Locke is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, MD.  Her research explores Buddhist and Western moral psychology, cross-cultural philosophy, and phenomenology.  She has studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism for many years, and in her extra-academic life, she teaches meditation and has developed and facilitated contemplative workshops on white privilege, diversity, and anti-racism.