We invite you to join in our Season of Gratitude at EBMC! As we close out 2019 we are sharing stories from our Sangha about how EBMC has positively impacted them and asking our Sangha to collectively raise $25,000 to keep EBMC sustainable and accessible for the benefit of so many.
We are tremendously grateful to a generous Sangha member who has given a matching grant and so all gifts to EBMC between now and the end of the year will be matched dollar to dollar, up to $10,000! Please support the center today at the highest level you can and help us meet our end of year goal!
From Jo Ann:
Because the women in the Thai-Chinese Buddhist tradition I grew up in hold second-class status relative to monks and men, I was skeptical about what I would find at a Buddhist temple. I had been following the class offerings at the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) for several years before I worked up the courage to apply for the 2017 Practice in Transformative Action (PiTA) yearlong program.
It wasn’t until I got to know Mushim Ikeda and the other members of the PiTA5 cohort that I was able to make my own assessment about Buddhism, Sangha, and what it meant to belong to a temple without the impact of the patriarchal system that I grew up in. For the first time in my life, I was able to ask questions about Buddhism that I was never allowed to ask. And for the first time in my life, I was able to admit that I was disheartened by the system that upholds monks as the ultimate of holiness. I was able to find my voice and unlearn oppressive ways of thinking.My relationship with my beloved mother, who had been the hardest on me, grew stronger, and I came to appreciate the complexities of being in practice with others.
EMBC was the first place where I practiced with a majority people of color. Up until that point in my life, I was either caught in a patriarchal system, practicing mindfulness in majority white spaces, or both. I was never truly at ease. I felt welcomed, but I was not in a place where I could truly explore my self-identity.
The PiTA program was so impactful to me that I stayed on for an additional year volunteering my time as an apprentice teacher where I continued to engage and solidify spiritual relationships with others. The people in my life from the EBMC are like no other. I can always find refuge with any of my cohort members. The shared experience of learning and practicing together creates bonds that are unforgettable. Opening our hearts and sharing in the experience of transformation together is very special – something that is hard to describe in words. Unlike other programs that are price prohibitive, the fact that EBMC relies on a gift economics system of sustainability made the experience affordable. I have deep gratitude for the offerings at EBMC. I am a stronger, more liberated, Asian American woman because of this beautiful community.
In loving kindness,
Jo Ann Prompongsatorn Farrant