On Saturday, January 5th, ZCNYC held its first retreat just for people of color: Healing the Wounds of Racism with Valerie Brown and Marisela Gomez. This program was the result of changes in the Programming Committee that brought people of color from the Beyond Fear of Differences Planning Group into the decision-making process around programming. With their help promoting this program—even with a cold rainy day—turnout was excellent, indicating a clear need for these programs going forward.
Last month, Zen Mountain Monastery hosted the Soto Zen Buddhist Association’s biennial conference for three full days of practice, discussion and exploration. Over 70 ordained priests and transmitted teachers joined the conference, representing dozens of training centers and sitting groups throughout North America. The gathering was last held at ZMM in 2006.
(A ZMM Podcast interview with SZBA President Tenku Ruff, Osho, can be found HERE.)
Among the present blessings of my monastic life, I count the chance to be part of a newly formed collaboration between members of the Temple’s People of Color Tea Group and the Monastery’s Beyond Fear of Differences Planning Group. Together, nineteen of us (about half of us identify as people of color and half as white) are working on creating a more inclusive and diverse community within the MRO. We’ve been referring to our joint group simply as POC/BFOD.