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Yin Dharma 1
Dates: Oct 22, 2021 - Oct 27, 2021
Days: Fri - Wed (5 Nights)

Instructor(s): Sebene Selassie, Pamela Weiss

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This is the first Module of a year-long Path program, Yin Dharma. Participants commit to all three residential courses (paid in three equal installments) and the online components in between. For full details on this Path program, please click here.

Audre Lorde describes a deep knowing that touches into a “feminine plane” within each of us that she calls the erotic. It is rooted in the senses and has a vital connection to the earth and our individual and collective human bodies, regardless of gender. This way of knowing is connected to nature, devotion, and mystery. Its lack of attachment to narrow forms of rationality often leads to its dismissal and even vilification in patriarchal cultures. Women and gender nonconforming people in particular have been devalued and oppressed for their connections to this wisdom. In this yearlong course, we will explore the possibilities of a contemporary Vipassana practice enlivened and deepened by this wisdom.

We will investigate this feminine wisdom, and its place—and dis-placement—in Theravāda traditions through inquiry and practice. How did women find power and voice to express a feminine Buddhist practice? When and why were women distanced from power in Theravāda communities and their voices and wisdom suppressed? What resources can we find in classical Buddhist traditions that can inform and inspire feminine practices today? Together, we will explore the potential of the erotic, nature, devotion, musicality, mystery, and the body to inspire feminine wisdom as a power to transform individual Buddhist practice and also our communities.

Module 1 will explore what is often left out of the contemporary picture by practicing outdoors together: sitting on the ground, walking in the woods, and integrating the natural world into our awareness. Drawing on early texts and historical scholarship we will explore both the limitations and resources of classical Buddhist teachings that engage nature, women, and the body.

Module 2 will delve into devotional practices of chanting and bowing, uncovering the musicality and movement often missing from our current forms of Vipassana. While looking at the colonial period and the “invention” of modern Insight practice, we will also investigate how devotional practices flourished in some cultures and communities.

Module 3 will interrogate our contemporary lenses of science and materialism by investigating the mystery of what is beyond our rational explanations of practice. We will explore postcolonial and feminist interpretations that help us integrate the body’s feminine wisdom, including the embrace of mystery, into the possibilities of practice.

Between each module there will be ongoing practices and readings as well as facilitated small group check-in meetings and monthly peer-led gatherings online.

For full details on this Path program, please click here.

Noble Silence and Mindful Speech: 

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

Experience Level:

Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

  • Sebene Selassie began studying Buddhism over 25 years ago as an undergraduate at McGill University where she majored in Comparative Religious Studies. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader (CDL4) program at Spirit Rock and continues her training with her primary teachers, Thanissara and Kittisaro. Sebene serves on the board of Sacred Mountain Sangha. She has an MA from the New School where she focused on race and cultural studies. Sebene is passionate about making the dharma accessible and relevant for our times.

  • Pamela Weiss is a Buddhist teacher and the author of “A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism.” She trained as a monastic at Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery, sits on the teacher council at Spirit Rock, and received Dharma Transmission in the Suzuki Roshi lineage. Pamela is passionate about integrating feminine ways of knowing into the teachings. She lives in San Francisco.

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