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September 29, 2017

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Report from Green Gulch: The Dharma Study of Racial Karma

by Abbess Furyu Schroeder and the Curriculum Committee of Green Gulch Farm Zen Center

This summer at Green Gulch Farm, residents together took up the theme of the “Dharma study of racial karma,” a deep and sustained exploration of the non-separation of the Bodhisattva Vow, community life, and racial justice.

The purpose of the summer curriculum was to arouse curiosity and engage in study and discussion about how we understand the impacts of our racial conditioning within the context of our Dharma practice and Sangha life. Through talks, trainings, readings, films, practicums, classes, and discussion, we worked to increase our fluency in the language and concepts of diversity and inclusion, our capacity for awareness of the impacts of our racial conditioning, and our willingness to engage in respectful conversations about race and racial conditioning, all in the context of the Bodhisattvas’ great vow to live for the benefit and liberation of all beings.

Honest, authentic, and respectful communication is fundamental to this study, and to support our intentional communication we adopted the communication agreements used by East Bay Meditation Center.

Many incredible guest teachers took the time to work with us on this theme this summer, including angel Kyodo williams, Mushim Ikeda-Nash, Victor Lee Lewis, Larry Yang, Deborah Santana, Alison Park, Ericka Huggins, and Kazu Haga. We are very grateful for their kindness and teachings!

The Green Gulch Farm community’s engagement and commitment to the practice and study of intimacy with racial karma is strong and ongoing, and though this summer series is winding down, the theme remains central to our shared understanding of Zen practice and the Bodhisattva Vow.