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Untangling the Tangle: Exploring Diverse Views on Race and Anti-Racism

Online Program
Dates: Feb 17, 2022 - Mar 24, 2022

Instructor(s): Brian Lesage, Jessica Locke

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Course Description:
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“A tangle inside, a tangle outside, 

This generation is entangled in a tangle. 

I ask you this, O Gotama, 

Who can disentangle this tangle?” 

[The Blessed One:] “A [practitioner] established on virtue, wise, 

Developing the mind and wisdom, 

A [practitioner] ardent and discreet: 

They can disentangle this tangle. 

– SN 7.6 

This is a reading and discussion group for people who identify as white to develop our capacities to clearly understand and compassionately respond to the many – often conflicting and challenging – views on race and anti-racism that are now such a prominent part of North American public culture. To accomplish this, we will be reading (and possibly viewing/listening to) different authors and thinkers’ commentaries on race and/or anti-racism. Not all of these will agree with one another, and we won’t always agree with them, but we will practice approaching these views both sympathetically and critically. We will be using our Dharma practice to notice the qualities of heart and mind that support or hinder our ability to untangle the tangle of these different views. In that sense, this course aims to make a practice of both discernment and curiosity, which are essential for our spiritual practice generally and for the task of navigating and intelligently relating with the multiplicity of views on race – even those with which we may not agree. We will not be exploring overtly or explicitly racist views but rather well-intentioned perspectives that are attempting to sincerely grapple with systemic racism.

Listen to this invitation from Brian and Jessica here.

    About the Instructor(s):
  • 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.