White and Awakening in Sangha: Continuing on the Path – Appreciative Joy and Equanimity
August 13 (hybrid), September 10 (online), October 8 (hybrid), November 12 (online), December 3 (hybrid), 2023
10:00am – 12:00pm Pacific Time with Crystal Johnson, Heather Lear and special guests
Time Zone Converter – Closed Captioning Provided
All registered participants will receive a link to join us via Zoom with their EventBrite confirmation email.
Since we first launched the White and Awakening in Sangha course in 2014 (and its sibling/cousin courses at SRMC, SFZC, SZBA and Branching Streams) we have had the privilege of being in community with hundreds of white identified people seeking to see more clearly into the delusion of race and move into wise action to disrupt the operation of white supremacy culture and the harm of race-based oppression. Many of you have asked for a regular forum to support your ongoing (un)learning and action.
It is said that Wisdom and Compassion are the two “wings” of the Dharma; both are needed for travel on the path to awakening. The Brahmaviharas (Divine Abodes) are the essence of the Buddha’s heart teachings, the cultivation of states that support the Compassion wing. By by cultivating these we create the conditions for wise discernment in navigating our work of social justice.
This spring, we focused on the first two Brahmaviharas: Metta (Lovingkindness) and Karuna (Compassion). This fall, we will consider the other two, namely Mudita (Appreciative Joy) and Equanimity. Together, these four practices provide the heart-support we need to engage in wise social action and move to address the suffering of racial conditioning, to help us stay present and engaged without burning out!
Our social conditioning presents many sorts of obstacles to our efforts. Do you feel that others do more or are better than you, that you will never measure up? Do you get frustrated, discouraged and/or self-critical when things don’t go the way you want them to? Do you feel pressure to “fix everything” “right now?” The practices of Mudita and Equanimity support us to avoid the pitfalls of taking sides, clinging to views, resentment, competitiveness, resignation and despair. Combined with metta and compassion, we can skillfully choose the most effective and sustainable ways to practice anti-racism.
In this series, we will offer brief dharma talks, guided practice, small and large group sharing and discussion, and, of course, lots of resources and some new readings. If you would like to be part of an optional, small, peer-led group in between meetings, we will help you connect with other participants. We will offer partial recordings of the sessions for those who can’t attend live, and still want to join us.
If you are white and have not taken the original course, you are welcome here; just know that this is not a beginning discussion. If you are biracial or otherwise identify with a significant dose of European ancestry, you are also welcome. Again, just know that our focus is on whiteness and white conditioning.
A technical note: You should receive a confirmation email within a day of completing your registration. If you don’t receive this email, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can troubleshoot this issue!
About the money: at the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), we practice Gift Economics, which means, among other things, that we welcome you into our community, and invite you to contribute according to your capacity and inspiration, rather than as if you are purchasing a product/course. Those of you who have taken the course know that the teachers have always donated their time and wisdom as a personal practice of reparation. All proceeds from your registration contributions will go to support the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC). By donating to EBMC, you are supporting a community founded and dedicated to creating a dharma refuge for BIPOC, LGBTQI2+, people with disabilities, other marginalized communities, and everyone (including us white identified folks) who seek to end suffering and cultivate happiness. Our mission is to foster liberation, personal and interpersonal healing, social action, and inclusive community building. We hope that you will join us.
To make a gift to sustain the work of East Bay Meditation Center, please do so via or our website: eastbaymeditation.org/dana.
Crystal Johnson is a retired clinical psychologist and a Community Teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) in Oakland, CA, where she also serves on the Leadership Sangha (Board) and as a member of the Radical Inclusivity Committee. She completed the year long Commit2Dharma training at EBMC, as well as the 2-year Dedicated Practitioner Program and the 2-year Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. In her teaching, she focuses on creating/co-creating programs for white dharma practitioners seeking to build awareness, knowledge and skills to challenge the dynamics of white privilege and race-based oppression, and create truly inclusive sangha. Her courses include White and Awakening in Sangha at EBMC, Unpacking Whiteness: Reflection and Action at the San Francisco Zen Center, White and Awakening Together at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Unpacking Whiteness for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and Unpacking the Whiteness of Leadership for Branching Streams. She offers consultation to individuals and organizations seeking to disrupt the practices of white supremacy culture and support change toward racial equity.
Heather Lear, MIB (she/her), was born and raised with the Dharma in a family of Insight Meditation practitioners. She has served on the teaching team offering the 6-month White and Awakening in Sangha (WAS) program at East Bay Meditation Center since 2019, and currently serves as the Program Manager at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Heather is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Advanced Practitioners Program (APP), the Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training, Radiant Heart Qigong Teacher Training, Awakening Joy Teacher Training, and is currently training in Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness (TSM).