This program offers an introductory investigation of race, whiteness, and systemic racism for meditation practitioners who identify as white, providing a foundation from which white meditators can begin the path of exploring their own social conditioning and cultivating tools to support them in confronting systemic racism and oppression in our society.
The workshop follows the path of the Four Dignities, a central element of the Shambhala teachings and framework for the meditator’s journey. Integrating Dharma teachings and embodied contemplative practices with material from the study of race, peacebuilding, and history, we will employ these teachings as a guide for how we can show up with fearlessness and gentleness to address racism in our community and society. We will invite curiosity and concerns about racism and create opportunities to increase our awareness of what we as white people often don’t see in ourselves and in our communities.
Meditation Experience: This course is for people who have an established meditation practice in any lineage of meditation and who identify as white.
In creating a more awake society, we all have a responsibility to apply the dharma to addressing suffering in our world. This includes white-identified meditators investigating their own social conditioning as white people and how this impacts people of color in our communities and society at large. Many people of color throughout the Shambhala community and other meditation communities have urged white people to do this important work in a setting that does not burden people of color with being the educators. We offer this course in that spirit.
For more information on the reasons for conducting some racial justice and awareness work in an affinity group among people identified with the same race, check out the following resources below.
This article in The Arrow Journal by Shambhala Educator, Alex Vlasic is an excellent read on How White Caucuses Contribute to Racial Justice.
Still have questions or curiosity? Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Gabe Dayley has designed and led dharma workshops to examine whiteness and racism, to investigate toxic masculinity, and to address our personal and collective ecological footprint. He currently works on climate action in local government, with a focus on ensuring that strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation are equitable, inclusive, and just. Gabe also founded and edits The Arrow Journal, which investigates applications of contemplative wisdom traditions to confronting pressing social and ecological challenges. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the DC Shambhala Center, and was raised in the Shambhala tradition by students of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Gabe received a master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University, where he focused on the application of conflict transformation to addressing environmental harm.
Sue Gilman began practicing and studying Buddhism in Atlanta in the late 1980’s. Currently the Director of the Atlanta Shambhala Center, Sue was also a member of the Boston Shambhala Center, the Director of Sky Lake Lodge in New York, and the Director of Development at Karme Choling in Vermont. She has been teaching in Shambhala for almost twenty years. Sue is a member of the board of Compassionate Atlanta and a facilitator of Compassionate Integrity Training. She has designed and facilitated conversations about bias and prejudice, race and whiteness for a decade. She is currently a co-facilitator of Unlearning Racism, a white awareness group at the Atlanta Shambhala Center, and a member of the DeKalb County NAACP Remembrance and Reconciliation Project.
Alison Pepper, LCSW, has been studying and practicing meditation and Buddhism as a part of the NY Shambhala community since 2006. Her social justice work began in high school and anti-racist work deepened in grad school at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter in NYC. Today Alison mixes her passions for art, body work, social justice and meditation in her NY therapy office as a Buddhist psychotherapist. She continues to co-facilitate a monthly white group with fellow Racial Justice and Dharma warriors (check us out if your interested in knowing more https://www.rjdharma.org/home ). When Alison isn’t in the shrine room or therapy office you will find her outside, playing with friends or home with her sweet cat Pickles!