The community of Brooklyn Zen Center acknowledges that suffering is a human condition often intensified by the biases, prejudices, behaviors and societal structures that favor or harm individuals and peoples because of race, class, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, political party, religious commitment or other beliefs and positions. We welcome and affirm all who come here in search of freedom from habits that cause suffering, and who will work toward respectful acceptance of others across our many differences, harmonizing the one and the many.
Our Inclusivity Committee, Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers are actively engaged in activities and initiatives that make real our aspiration to dissolve barriers that separate us from each other so that all feel welcome, seen and heard. This commitment to diversity and inclusivity is grounded in our understanding that one’s own liberation is intimately tied up with the liberation of all. Nowhere in our extraordinary diversity can any ultimate separation be found. This is the truth that guides us.*
Brooklyn Zen Center is dedicated to ensuring that our offerings are available to all, regardless of ability to pay. No one is turned away from the teachings for lack of funds. Toward this commitment, limited scholarship funds are available for longer meditation retreats. Practitioners should feel encouraged to inquire if payment is a barrier to your participation.
With regard to all Brooklyn Zen Center policies, programming, practices, assumptions and attitudes, this committee is tasked by our Board of Directors to monitor, evaluate and make recommendations concerning inclusivity, diversity and potential barriers to participation in an effort to ensure to the best of its ability that all individuals feel welcome, seen and heard within this community. To contact our inclusivity committee, please use our online form.
People of Color Group
The People of Color group fosters mutual support and understanding among people of color who find nourishment and inspiration in the teachings and practice of Buddhism. The group also provides a safe space and Zen Buddhist context for openly discussing our experience of exclusion and separation resulting from oppressive, racist, social structures. For more information or to contact the POC group, read here.
Undoing Racism Workshop
Brooklyn Zen Center is currently working with the People’s Institute to have our staff, leadership and community participate in a 2-day Undoing Racism Workshop. The workshop utilizes a systemic approach that emphasizes learning from history, developing leadership, maintaining accountability to communities, creating networks, undoing internalized racial oppression and understanding the role of organizational gate keeping as a mechanism for perpetuating racism.
* Our inclusivity statement was inspired both by Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland and New York Insight Meditation Center. We deeply appreciate the work they have done in this area.