Deep Refuge in Spiritual Friendship: a Network of EBMC Practice Communities

“To have spiritual associates, spiritual companions, spiritual friendships, is the whole of the Holy life.” ~Buddha

The Deep Refuge program was created to support the many individuals and diverse communities of the East Bay Meditation Center to deepen their spiritual path in their lived experiences. Deep Refuge communities are intended to provide a safe, intimate, and community-led space in which folks can explore what relevance wisdom teachings from different lineages and traditions have in their lives.

Deep Refuge groups can have many different themes or organizing principles, such as a particular area of study, a common interest, a shared identity, or a shared neighborhood. They generally consist of 5-12 members, making it possible for Sangha bonds to grow strong as well as providing an intimate enough setting for true exploration of Dharma topics. This deepens the development of daily life as practice.

Deep Refuge groups are community-led practice groups of people in the EBMC community. However Deep Refuge groups are not facilitated by EBMC.

Current Deep Refuge Groups

If you wish to explore joining one of these groups, please contact the facilitators directly. If a group is closed or doesn’t yet exist, you are warmly invited to start a new group. For more information about starting a Deep Refuge group, please download the Deep Refuge Guidelines (PDF).

This deep refuge group is for people who have ancestry in Asia (mixed race folks welcome!), and an established meditation practice and foundation in the Four Noble Truths. We gather to build sangha and to support each others’ practice in a safe(r) space that allows us to explore the intersections of Asian American identity/experience and Buddhism.

Meeting info: Regular meetings are currently on hiatus.

Every Saturday from 10AM – 11:30AM PST / PDT ONLINE

Compassionate Dharma Deep Refuge Buddhist meeting focuses on ways to heal addiction. Based on the Eight Steps to Recovery developed by Dr. Mason-John M.A (hon.doc) and Dr Groves, we believe this inclusive approach can build a solid foundation for those at any level of recovery and for those who have yet to seek help.

Through these practices we hope you gain a practice that can sustain you in your recovery.

We ask that you attend sober on the day with respect for others that may be active in recovery.  Open to all in Recovery.

Advance Registration is not required.

Join Zoom Meeting

For additional information, please contact:
Shawna Adkins

Walt Opie

The Multiracial Deep Refuge Group is a monthly exploratory Deep Refuge Group for and by people who identify as multiracial. Our meetings include periods of mindfulness meditation and sharing of narratives and perspectives as we come together to be seen and to see one another. By sitting and exploring our own unique stories, we can come to know and care for the common threads that bind us together. Our collective work bravely expands the narrative that informs multiracial experience today. Meets 7pm-9pm on the second Saturdays of every month. Newcomers welcome.

We are a peer-led meditation group for those of us who have a meditation practice and are queer and leather/kink-identified. Our group holds a safe space where we can support each other as we practice in our daily lives. Specifically, this group provides an accepting space where we can include the queer and leather/kinky parts of our identities and experiences when talking about our practices. We practice both sitting and lovingkindness meditation together, and also take time to share about our practices. We meet on the 4th Friday of every month from 7 – 8:30 p.m. For more info or to join our mailing list or online groups, please visit

This is a monthly meetup open to people of color who have attended residential people of color retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Deer Park Monastery, or both. This Deep Refuge Group is intended to nurture the experience of retreat — mindfulness, sangha, dharma sharing, and the Five Mindfulness Trainings — in our everyday lives. Meetings are held the first Saturday of each month at EBMC, from 7-10pm, and feature a potluck meal, eaten in mindful silence, a practice period, and discussion about the dharma.  The group is open to new members until early 2017, so please attend a monthly meeting before March if interested. And please bring a dish to share!

Join us second Tuesdays at lunchtime starting on December 13th, 2016, from 12pm to 1pm at EBMC. This practice group will include a twenty five minute meditation period and time to be in community with organizers and activists– deepening our commitment to community and movements for justice and liberation.

This peer-led Deep Refuge group is led by Christine Cordero, director of the Center for Story Based Strategy and Amanda Ream, EBMC LSangha member and union organizer. Both are graduates of EBMC’s Practice in Transformative Action Program.

Trans* and Gender Queer/Gender Variant Deep Refuge Group
Fourth Mondays at EBMC
7-8:30 PM
(This is a bi-weekly group. Learn more below.)

Refuge for us means this group is led by Trans* and Gender Queer/Gender Variant facilitators, for people who identify as Trans* and/or Gender Queer/Gender Variant. Our goal is to provide a safe and welcoming space for all folks with these identities/experiences who are interested in practicing and exploring Insight/Vipassana meditation; the observation of one’s mental and physical sensations, in our moment-to-moment life experience. This group is for beginners as well as folks who have been practicing meditation for a while.

Group core leaders are currently Abe Doherty and Fresh! White. We also intend on inviting guest leaders and teachers.

Second Monday Meetings: In addition to meeting on the fourth Mondays at EBMC, we also meet on the second Mondays at an alternative space. You can learn more about these gatherings and other community events by visiting here:

*The asterisk on the term Trans(*) means everyone beyond the binary.

Young Adult Sangha is an intentional peer-led meditation collective welcoming young adults of all backgrounds, origins, cultures, gender identities, abilities, skin colors and sexual orientations ages 18-28.

Young Adult Sangha seeks to encourage an ever growing community grounded in loving kindness and meditation practice. It is our intention to work with implicit bias where it arises and to establish a diverse sangha and leadership. We seek to cultivate a healthy and supportive practice environment where each can sit with freedom and acceptance and where all can bring their honest authentic selves forward to form connection, relationships and community with other young adults.

Guided by the ethics of love and social justice, we work to maintain a self-sustaining community by maximizing peer leadership and outreach, hosting group activities outside of formal practice, honoring wise speech, wise action and confidentiality, by being honest about our experiences, sharing our stories, keeping each other accountable, not tolerating intolerance and by staying playful!

Come join us!

1st Monday of the month:
Young Adult Sangha meets every 1st Monday of the month at EBMC
6:30 pm – 9pm

All other Mondays :
Ongoing YAS peer facilitators refuge group meets in Albany, CA 6:30 pm – 9pm
If interested, please contact Barak for details at

The Alphabet Brothers of Color (ABoC) is a deep refuge group that has been in existence since 2010. ABoC is a closed group. ABoC exists to build and strengthen a sense of community and belonging among male-identified Alphabet people of color on a spiritual path.

Awakening in Deep Refuge began as a dharma study group, initiated by Larry Yang in 2009. His letters and recommended readings (similar to C2D) provided a strong foundation and over the years we have grown into a Kalyana Mitta (spiritual friendship) group of the East Bay Meditation Center. We are a peer-led, multicultural group that meets in each other’s homes every month where we meditate together, check-in about our practice, study the dharma and enjoy a potluck supper. Every four months we gather for a daylong of mindfulness practice and in June 2012 we held our first peer-led week-long retreat. We are grateful for the opportunity to support each other’s practice and be present in each other’s lives. We are not open to new members at this time but are open to sharing our experience in helping other groups get started and sustain themselves over time.

A group for folks who are active participants in the Dharmacharya Program. See for more information.

The WAS Deep Refuge Group is a supportive learning community of white practitioners exploring racism in the context of Buddha Dharma and working on ways to transform our own white racial conditioning, and the white supremacist systems in which we live.

White and Awakening in Sangha meets at EBMC every 4th Tuesday from 6-8PM. For more information, please contact: