Article by Shoketsu Ellen Carlin
The Buddha said to his students, “Go forth for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world.”
One of the goals in the Bright Way Zen Strategic Plan is to share the Dharma with more people. We live in a diverse, dynamic community in Washington County, just west of Portland. Forty percent of the population here is Hispanic, Asian, Black, Native American or other non-white. In addition, the area is having a growth explosion with people moving here in a steady stream. We frequently have new visitors in search of a spiritual community. We do our best to warmly welcome them and get to know them. BWZ feels it’s important for us to increase our diversity, equity and inclusion. We are approaching this in a number of ways now.
- We offer “Awakening to Whiteness” educational series at least every 18 months. The first offering at our sangha was well attended and lasted 6 months. It includes a selection of readings written by people of color that inform in ways not done before. We meet once a month to discuss our reactions to the readings and key learnings in small groups. As one who recently participated, I can tell you the program is powerful and altered many assumptions I’ve long held. The next series will start sometime in 2020.
- We want to attract to people of color who have an interest in meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative traditions. We would love to get some ideas on ways to effectively do this.
- We plan to develop partnerships with at least one culturally-specific organization/group each year. There are several groups we can partner with including Unite Oregon, Coalition of Communities of Color, and Center for Diversity and the Environment.