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Tomorrow Tues May 4 “May We Gather: National Buddhist Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors”

May 4 2021 Buddhist Memorial for Asian American Ancestors ceremony

 

Tuesday May 4, 2021 at 4 PM PDT – 5:30 PM PDT
May We Gather: A National Buddhist Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors.
You are warmly invited to attend this free online healing ceremony led and organized by Asian American Buddhists in the face of anti-Asian American violence. Access the event website here: https://www.maywegather.org/
East Bay Meditation Center is proud to be among the many Buddhist organizations endorsing this national memorial ceremony.

ONLINE: Honoring Our Asian American Buddhist Ancestors

An Online Event with Rev. Duncan Williams

Saturday, May 15th 2021 2:00PM – 4:00PM PST  (Time Zone Converter)

Closed Captioning Provided

The March 16th Atlanta shootings claimed the lives of eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, including 63-year-old Buddhist, Yong Ae Yue. Yue’s tragic death follows upon months of unrelenting racist taunts and violence against Asian Americans, including the senseless assault of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco. His daughter, who herself had been accosted twice in the past year and told to go back to Asia because “Asians caused the coronavirus,” described her father as a devout Thai Buddhist; his funeral was held at Wat Buddhanusorn in Fremont, California. Our temples have also come under attack. Six Vietnamese American temples in Orange County, California were vandalized in a single month; an outdoor Buddhist statue was spray-painted with the word “Jesus” at Huong Tich Temple. More recently, the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles was damaged when windows were smashed, lanterns broken, and the building set on fire.

Rev. Duncan Williams will speak about the National Buddhist Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors scheduled on May 4, 2021 – Forty-nine days after the Atlanta shootings. Forty-nine days after death marks an important transition for the bereaved in many Buddhist traditions.

 

Registered participants will receive a link to join us via Zoom with their EventBrite confirmation. 

 

 

Spiritual Teacher & Leadership (STL) Training

The Spiritual Teacher & Leadership (STL) training program launched in February 2021 with 30 participants and 4 core teachers.  The purpose of the training is to cultivate future teachers and leaders to step into leadership roles within EBMC and into surrounding communities and sibling organizations.

Read more about the participants HERE.

https://bit.ly/3afg8Zw

Vote for EBMC’s René Rivera for Community Grand Marshal SF Pride 2021!

PLEASE SHARE. Voting closes Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 6 pm Pacific time. From #EBMCOakland co-founder, beloved Dharma teacher Larry Yang: “Our wonderful EBMC teacher René Rivera has been lifted up as a nominee for Community Grand Marshal for SF PRIDE in 2021, and his name is now on the voting platform at: https://sfpride.org/grand-marshals
      “I encourage you to vote yourselves, and also to spread the word as widely as possible–social media–word of mouth–et al.! The work that René does is so important for all our communities and in the world. As we know one of the characteristics of Awareness, is that paying attention and acknowledgment of someone’s efforts is an expression of Love itself. That is the intention of this gesture–to show Love to one of our community members, and thus sharing Love from our communities back.
      “This is the description of René as a nominee on the SF PRIDE website:  René Rivera is a meditation teacher, restorative justice facilitator, and leader, working and learning in all the spaces in-between race, gender, and other perceived binaries, as a queer, mixed-race, trans man. René teaches heart-centered, trauma-informed meditation, at the East Bay Meditation Center and other meditation centers. He has led the first residential meditation retreats for transgender, nonbinary, and gender expansive people. René is a restorative justice facilitator for the Ahimsa Collective, working to heal sexual and gender-based violence. He has been a leader in bicycle advocacy as past director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Bike East Bay.”

René Rivera Vote for Community Grand Marshal SF Pride 2021

We Hold the Grief of our Asian and Asian American Sangha

The East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) expresses our collective grief and outrage at the ongoing violence targeting Asian and Asian Americans and in the wake of the most recent tragic attack in Atlanta. We stand in solidarity with Asian and Asian Americans in beloved community.

These violent acts of hatred are arising due to the current and historical oppression of Asian Americans in the U.S. They are the direct result of our nation’s deep roots in white supremacy, imperialism, and xenophobia. 

EBMC is committed to co-creating a culture of strongly-rooted resistance, resilience and well-being. This is our steady response to the violence and injustice we witness in society. We continue to cultivate the ground for deep systemic change, to end multigenerational patterns of oppression, and to uphold a spiritual vision for  freedom and joy for everyone. This is a time to take refuge in the three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and support one another on the path of non-harming.

East Bay Meditation Center will continue to offer collective spaces for healing and taking refuge together in Sangha, especially in the coming weeks. We will share programming updates that will include space for our Asian and Asian American Sangha members and opportunities to build solidarity with our BIPOC/White allies. In the meantime, we continue to hold space at our People of Color Sangha practice group on Thursday evenings and our Asian American Deep Refuge group on Tuesday evenings. We are in the process of scheduling more programming and will share details soon. We encourage you to lean on EBMC and each other in Sangha during this time. 

The following is a link to compiled resources, including donation, volunteer, and action opportunities: https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/

 

[Cover image used with permission from artist Pauline Cuevas. Artwork was commissioned by the California Endowment.]

EBMC Is Seeking Volunteer with Commercial Real Estate Experience

February 28, 2021

Volunteer Position Description: EBMC Real Estate Subcommittee member

We are very happy to be at a point in our search for a sustainable home for EBMC that we need to add members to the EBMC Real Estate Subcommittee of the Space Force! The Space Force (officially the Advisory Committee to the Strategic Planning Committee) is the group in our sangha(spiritual community)  that has been working to move EBMC to a sustainable home. During this time of pandemic we have continued to meet and work toward this goal. As we move closer to the time of purchasing a building, we are seeking additional volunteer support.

We are looking for someone who:

  • Is able to physically visit potential buildings in downtown Oakland to assess for appropriateness
  • Has commercial real estate transaction experience: purchase, contracts, subcontracting
  • Can attend bi-weekly meetings of the Real Estate Subcommittee (every other Tuesday, 2:00-3:00 pm Pacific time), and, when possible, monthly meetings of the Space Force (Second Mondays, 7:00-8:30 pm Pacific time)
  • Ideally, would have expertise in ADA/accessibility, the Oakland real estate market and real estate project management

The estimated time commitment is four to six hours per month, including two Zoom meetings, which usually happen on a weekday afternoon.  The committee uses a modified consensus decision-making process, using gradients of agreement. (We’re happy to tell you more.)

By contributing your skills and expertise, you’ll be helping to create a new chapter in the history of American Buddhism and helping to shape the new home of one of the most diverse, social justice-centered sanghas in the world.

If you are interested, please complete this brief form and we will be in touch! If you know someone else who might be interested, please pass this on to them.

 

Group photo of EBMC Sangha. Photo by Candi Martinez Carthen.

With deep gratitude for your practice and your support of our sangha,

Marian Urquilla, Kaily Heitz and David Foecke

East Bay Meditation Center Real Estate Subcommittee

Volunteer Needed: Dharma in Motion Zoom Moderator

EBMC is currently seeking a volunteer Dharma in Motion Zoom Moderator.

For more information on this volunteer position, please read the Volunteer Description.

Contact: shah at eastbaymeditation dot org if you are interested!

“We cannot take for granted this Bay Area gem.” Antoinette González’s Gratitude Story

Thanks to you, our generous Sangha,
we have been able to reach our
end-of-year fundraising goal!
During our Season of Gratitude, we featured some truly
heartwarming Gratitude Stories from Sangha members and raised $33,704!
We bow to your generosity and support.
If you wanted to give but haven’t had a chance yet, there is still time, and now there is an added bonus: Because of the generosity of our Sangha, we only need to raise $1,296 to reach a S-T-R-E-T-C-H goal of $35,000!
Please give this week to help us begin 2021 with abundance!
You can give through the website or PayPal.
We end our Season of Gratitude with sweet words from Antoinette González,
a member of POC Sangha and the LSangha (Board).

“My journey to mindfulness began about fifteen years ago as I experienced great heartache from a relationship break up. And, after attending a People of Color (POC) Retreat at Deer Park Monastery, a practice center in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, I became very curious about engaged Buddhism. When I relocated to the Bay Area in 2017, I already knew that I wanted to be a part of East Bay Meditation Center because of the various daylongs and Sangha offerings for communities of color and queer folks. In fact, I was drawn to the center because EBMC didn’t just offer practice spaces for marginalized communities, it centered us! I didn’t take this fact lightly especially since I had not encountered other practice centers or spaces that consistently and actively center marginalized communities. So, as I walked up to EBMC’s space for Sangha gatherings, I could feel myself exhaling and lightening up a little.
I still remember feeling so much joy in being at EBMC’s physical space during POC Sangha and POC Yoga. Thursday nights, especially with back-to-back practice communities of POC Yoga and POC Sangha, brought to life these words for me: “beloved community.” My heart and mind benefitted from both the sweetness of Sangha and the offerings from the various teachers. Honestly, various times I showed up a little edgy or irritable from the day or week, yet Sangha and the teachings softened me.
And, as our Sangha communities continue to meet online, I’ve come to deeply appreciate the generosity of all the teachers, volunteers and staff in continuing to create space for such important practice, where we can continue to find refuge and build these vital, connected communities. I cannot imagine not having the wonderful Sanghas nor the various offerings that East Bay Meditation Center provides. We cannot take for granted this Bay Area gem.”
As we close this Season of Gratitude and greet 2021 together in community,
we thank each and every one of you for your continued support and generosity.
Read the rest of the beautiful Gratitude Stories
on our website and, if you haven’t yet, make a contribution here!

The Power of Small Encounters – Alison Christiana Gratitude Story!

It doesn’t take long after arriving at East Bay Meditation Center to feel the impact of multicultural spiritual community and powerful wisdom teachings presented through a lens of social justice. Today’s Gratitude Story features Alison Christiana, a Sangha member who arrived at the center last year and, as a transracial adoptee, immediately felt welcomed and included.
Contribute to our Season of Gratitude campaign to ensure EBMC continues to connect our Sangha to healing wisdom!

The first thing I noticed about East Bay Meditation Center was its striking difference from the other mostly white-dominant healing spaces I had experienced. I came to the center on the heels of a very traumatic racial experience in a therapeutic training program. What was sold to me as an intuitive, supportive, and conscious training ended up being a mostly white-led space that reinforced white supremacist behaviours. Ultimately, I left the program but carried the grief and pain of that encounter. When I came to EBMC I was nervous and hesitant to enter another healing community. But immediately upon walking into the center, I could tell I was in a different type of space. The center felt humble, simple, and approachable. It had a comforting feel and everyone I encountered was friendly. Even before arriving at the physical space I felt held; the communication around what to expect from the center and what was expected of me was clear: come as you are and be thoughtful of the community.

The nervousness I felt around being in a new healing space quickly lifted as I realized that most of the folks in the room were people of color. The first workshop I attended was led by Dr. Sean Feit Oakes and Fresh Lev White for adult adoptees, former foster home or system youth, and any adult who was forced or separated from their birth family at a young age. The workshop itself was wonderful and it was impactful to be in a room filled with both the foster community and the adoption community and hear different people’s perspectives.
I’m a transracial Korean adoptee, and there were others in the room that also held who identity and, of course, have their own experiences. I appreciated seeing adoption through a new and intriguing lens of Buddhism. It can be easy to feel like your adoption is an isolated tragedy or trauma in your own life, but there are a lot of interconnections to why these events come about. Through the exercises in the workshop I was able to access generational wisdom and bring meaning and context to my lived experience. I connected with another Korean adoptee; this small interaction led me to resources and support, including finding a suitable therapist to help my adopted mother and me work through challenges in our relationship. Looking back, I see the power of community in seemingly small encounters. EBMC is a place that fosters important community interactions in a respectful and authentic atmosphere.
A few months after the workshop, when the pandemic hit, I really felt the value of the spaces that were created as an environment for people of color to gather in person. I became a monthly donor because I wanted to make sure EBMC weathered the pandemic storm. Donating to a small organization like EBMC made me feel good about the impact of my financial contribution. I was also impressed by how quickly and smoothly everything was moved online. I’ve attended online workshops and they were held beautifully, even in a virtual environment.
Most of the healing spaces I’ve encountered are white-led, expensive and/or hard to access. Coming from a place of relative financial privilege, I wanted to contribute to an organization that is continuing to support and prioritize marginalized and oppressed groups within our community so that they may continue to have access to spiritual and healing wisdom.

“Abundance of access to true refuge” – Jared Swanson Gratitude Story

Have you experienced generosity at EBMC? Sangha member Jared Swanson shares his experience of coming to the center and finding resources at a time when he needed them the most. Jared is part of our POC Sangha, Midday Sangha, and has received his Bodhisattva vows and precepts through EBMC.
The “magical generosity” continues as our Season of Gratitude unfolds.

I was introduced to meditation and mindfulness as a young person, however when my dad would tell me, “You are not your emotions,” my teenage self just wanted to scream “Shut up!” in his face. It took years of therapy before I got curious enough about my needs and examined cyclical behaviors that led to unnecessary suffering. A more studious approach to well-being led me to podcast dharma talks, books and teachers. My excitement grew so much that I did a Google search for “meditation in Oakland” and discovered East Bay Meditation Center. I naturally sought out Sangha before knowing what it even meant!

 

EBMC entered my life at the right time. I was primed and ready to find a sense of belonging and to be gentler and slower with myself and my practice. When I arrived at the center I thought, “Wait..what is this place?” It felt like a vortex of belonging and inclusion…in an office building of all places! The temple was calm and quiet and I was greeted by two Sangha members when I arrived. There was no required “buy in” to be included in the community. I’ve never experienced a place where doors keep opening for you, a place that is welcoming and kind. People really need that kindness.

 

As a multiracial person, I’ve never felt like I belonged. On one hand, the Latino side of my family has been completely homogenized and I grew up in predominantly white suburbs. On the other hand, I encountered hostility when some in the Latino community found out I didn’t speak Spanish and I was told I had abandoned my culture. I was confused about my identity. At EBMC, I found a place that was honest and authentic about the complexities of being a person of color and especially a multiracial person. EBMC has changed my entire point of view on therapy, healing and reciprocity. It’s hard to describe or encapsulate what EBMC is; its impact is so personal to each of us. It is a place of true vulnerability, a gift that has no capitalistic value.

 

I couldn’t believe that, regardless of my financial constraints, I was lucky enough to find a place to deepen my practice, access education and resources, and build healthy relationships with friends and mentors. I dove right into POC Sangha, Midday Sangha, and so many healing classes and daylongs. I don’t think I ever would have gone on a retreat had it not been for the encouragement and recommendations to scholarships by Sangha friends. I was deeply in debt when I first came to EBMC, and it’s hard to articulate the impact that affordable access to spiritual teachings, spiritual community, and spiritual friendship had on me during that time. EBMC felt like an abundance of access to true refuge.

 

How do I thank EBMC for sowing these purposeful seeds? How do I repay such magical generosity? I hope to be a conduit so EBMC’s mission may reach more people like me. Thank you all for making this Sangha so special. I miss being with you so dearly.