Buddhist traditions are vast. Even within a single tradition, such as Theravāda, there is a wide range of practices. Why don't we practice them?
In this course, we will investigate some of the cultural frameworks (including patriarchy, colonialism and norms of modernity) that we bring to our study and practice of Buddhism and how they shape what is included and what gets left out. Exploring these frameworks can help us understand the prevalence of contemporary practices that emphasize individuality, autonomy and rationality. Having this understanding can open a space for us to explore practices that explicitly engage nature, ritual, devotion, the body, the feminine and identity.
Together we will investigate the ways in which our own practice is constrained and can turn us away from addressing questions of identity and social location. We will experiment with practices that liberate us from our constraints and expand our understanding of practice, community and freedom. There will also be time for affinity groups where people of color and white people can explore and investigate their particular experiences.
This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Some familiarity with Insight Meditation is the only prerequisite for this workshop.
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. In teaching the Dharma, Brian is interested in maintaining a close tie with this 2,600-year-old tradition and conveying it in a way that speaks to our current contexts.
Sebene Selassie began studying Buddhism over 25 years ago as an undergraduate at McGill University where she majored in Comparative Religious Studies. She has an MA from the New School where she focused on race and cultural 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 boards of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Sacred Mountain Sangha. She is passionate about making the dharma accessible and relevant for our times and teaches regularly in New York City and nationally.