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The Dharma of James Baldwin and Audre Lorde
Dates: Jun 05, 2021 - Jul 24, 2021
Online Course

Instructor(s): Rima Vesely-Flad

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In this course, we will approach writers James Baldwin and Audre Lorde as ancestors who offer an embodied dharma of resilience, fortitude, presence, and joy in a racist, patriarchal context. As we read Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and Lorde’s Sister Outsider, along with Buddhist discourses, we will explore how they help us understand classical Buddhist teachings in new and powerful ways. We will focus especially on the truths of suffering and the freedom from suffering; the path to liberation; the importance of recognizing causes and conditions, particularly with regard to ourselves and the societies in which we live; and the importance of cultivating loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. And we will pay attention to the ways in which the teachings of Baldwin and Lorde that affirm the body and sensuality, can also be understood as a liberatory practice deeply resonant with some Buddhist traditions. We welcome participants from all social identities to explore Lorde and Baldwin as teachers, in a Buddhist framework, who can help us develop stamina on the path to liberation, including liberation from white supremacy and internalized hatred. We will supplement our reading of primary texts with documentary films and poetry performances.

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


Online Course: Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and with teachers in our online courses. When registering for an online course, please plan to attend as many sessions as possible.

Applications close on April 21. Applications are processed on a lottery basis, with spaces reserved for the BIPOC community. Applicants will receive notification regarding their registration status by May 1st.  

The schedule of Zoom meetings for this course (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Meeting Time: Saturdays, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm between June 5 and July 24

Meeting Dates: June 5, 12, 19, 26, July 3, 10, 17, 24


Please check the time of the group meetings in your timezone here, and please note that sessions will not be recorded.


Registration fees for online courses are nonrefundable after the course start date. Cancellations prior to the start date of the course will incur a $25 admin fee. Thank you for your understanding.

  • Dr. Rima Vesely-Flad is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Social Justice, and the Director of Peace and Justice Studies, at Warren Wilson College.  She directs the Inside Out Prison Education Program, a partnership between Warren Wilson College and the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women.  She is the author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice (Fortress Press, 2017).  She is currently at work on a second manuscript entitled Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation (Forthcoming, NYU Press, 2021) 


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