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Refuge-Liberation: A View of Belonging from Buddhist Asian America
Dates: Jun 17, 2022 - Jun 20, 2022
Days: Fri - Mon (3 Nights)

Instructor(s): Duncan Ryūken Williams

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Where do we find home? How do we become free together? These have been enduring questions 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. Finding a place of refuge and belonging in a world often intent on exclusion. Discovering that one does not walk the path of liberation alone, but 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. This workshop is oriented for those who identify as Asian American and allies, and it will consist of a hybrid format including the study of Asian American Buddhist history, interactive exercises to explore identity, and Buddhist ritual practices that enhance a sense of expansive belonging.

Noble Silence and Mindful Speech: 

Noble silence will be observed following the evening session through breakfast the following morning.

Experience Level:

This course is suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

This course will be offered on a lottery basis in order to ensure that spaces are available for a diverse student body. Registering for a lottery does not ensure a space in the program. The lottery will close at 11:59 PM US Eastern time on February 15th, and spaces will be offered by February 22nd. Payment will be due three days from notification of acceptance. Click for more information about our lottery courses.

Demographic questions are required for this course because we are committed to ensuring that spaces in the program are available for a diverse student body.

As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming; please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.

  • 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.