Dear Sangha Members,
In her book Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out Ruth King writes, “Racism is a heart disease. Many of us can live for a while with a heart disease without knowing it, and others of us know we have a heart disease but are afraid or even in denial about it. But racism is a heart disease, and it’s curable!” In the book King walks us through this diagnosis, bringing us to a deeper understanding of racism as a disease and then provides a detailed explanation of concrete practices we can use to cure this disease. King’s book applies a Buddhist framework to help us more deeply understand racism, our individual roles within it, and how to begin the process of transforming ourselves and our society.
Last month one of our scheduled discussion topics was supposed to focus on Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out. We ended up cancelling that evening’s class due to weather, and I had planned to reschedule it for this month. Upon further reflection, this book and topic deserve much more than one evening of discussion. If we are truly walking the bodhisattva path we need to recognize how our current reality has been conditioned by our racial history in America. The work of building this awareness and then transforming those conditions will take more than one evening. Indeed, more than one individual lifetime. Even so, it is work that cannot wait.
March 21 will be our first meeting of our Transforming Racism practice group. The group will start as a book group, reading and discussing a chapter of Ruth King’s book twice a month for the next several months. (The text can be purchased from several online booksellers and directly from King’s website.) Our March 21 meeting will focus on the Introduction. Each gathering will run from 7:00pm-8:30pm and include an hour-long discussion followed by an optional short meditation period. The group will meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month.
If you already view the world through a Buddhist framework, King’s book can help you understand more completely why we need to attend to racism as we pursue awakening. If Buddhism is unfamiliar to you, King’s framework can simply offer a different way of thinking about racism and a way to ultimately, collectively address this disease. Whatever your background, I anticipate that this process will be an incredibly useful one for all who participate. I look forward to traveling this path with you.
If you are interested in participating, or if you have any questions about this group, please RSVP through this form or directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.