Having admirable people as friends, companions, and colleagues is actually the whole of the holy life.
~ The Buddha
Along with Buddhist practitioners throughout the country, Triangle Insight feels called to address the continuing violence against People of Color, as well as the many more subtle expressions of racial injustice in our society. Growing out of this commitment, and with reflection upon a number of resources, including Ruth King’s Mindful of Race workshop, we have developed Racial Affinity Groups to support us in this important work.
Racial Affinity Groups, like Kalyana Mitta Groups, are small peer groups of spiritual friends who use the dharma, their practice, and mindful sharing to deepen connection with self and others, explore spiritual issues, and develop greater understanding and healing.
Essential to both Kalyana Mitta and Racial Affinity groups is the development of safety, trust, and intimacy. This allows members to share openly and deeply, and the heart of the dharma is enriched in our practice, our daily lives, and the collective experience of the greater society.
The specific intention of Racial Affinity Groups is to deepen self-awareness around issues of race in small, racially homogeneous groups that integrate the dharma into members’ personal and collective exploration. Development of this deepened self-awareness underlies wise action, and we’re encouraged not to rush too quickly to problem-solve or “fix” anything, but, rather, to take the time needed to do our own work. To support this process groups follow Triangle Insight’s Mindful Sharing Guidelines
and Ruth King’s Racial Affinity Group Guidelines
Some have wondered why groups with goals of equality and inclusion would be racially homogeneous. As Ruth King states in her important book, Mindful of Race
, “… given the unintended harm caused from unawareness and cumulative impact when we gather across races, we need a different way, or perhaps an alternative way, to explore the ignorance and innocence of our racial conditioning and racial character with those of the same race.” In this way racial affinity groups create a safe container for this difficult work and lead to greater understanding and interconnectedness for participants and the greater community.
Our Racial Affinity Groups are open to:
– Those who participate in the Triangle Insight Meditation Community.
– Committed Buddhist practitioners who attend another sangha.
These groups are an outgrowth of our sangha and are integrated with our dharma talks, practice, and study. This integration helps deepen connection among group members and the sangha as a whole, and participation in Triangle Insight is a valuable part of this process. Those who attend another sangha and join one of our Racial Affinity Groups might find it beneficial to experience our teachers and sangha, and they’re welcome to attend Triangle Insight on Wednesday evening as convenient.
If you’re interested in joining a group or have questions or suggestions, you are invited to talk with Beth Lauderdale, RAG Coordinator, or email Beth at [email protected]
. This program is a work in progress, and we welcome your input.
We are inspired by the dedication of our spiritual community. May our Racial Affinity Groups be of great benefit to all.
Kalyana Mitta-Racial Affinity Coordinating Team
RAG Coordinator: Beth Lauderdale
KM Coordinator: Sarah Tillis
Advisors: Beth Lauderdale, Tamara Share, Sarah Tillis