What Get’s Left Out: Issues of Cultural Spiritual Bypassing in Western Convert Buddhism, Feb 8


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What gets left out of our spiritual practice? And why? “Premature transcendence” or spiritual bypassing has been described by John Welwood as unskillfully using a spiritual practice to avoid addressing psychological wounds and unresolved personal issues. This is usually discussed only on the personal /psychological level, yet a spiritual practice can be used to avoid or “bypass” unresolved collective/ cultural issues as well — this is what we are calling cultural spiritual bypassing.

During this evening program we will look at how cultural spiritual bypassing manifests both collectively and individually, especially within our contemporary convert Buddhist traditions. We will come together in a multicultural community to create some understanding of how to expand our understanding of practice, community, and freedom.

Please join us Friday, February 8, for this special program offered  by dharma teachers Sebene Selassie and Brian Lesage. This program is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $10-$20. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Come as you are! Your presence and practice at BZC is a deeply appreciated form of giving practice (generosity).

This special Friday night program is open to the public and is optional for the participants of the two-day offering What Get’s Left Out: Issues of Cultural Spiritual Bypassing in Western Convert Buddhism (February 9 & 10).

About Sebene Selassie

Sebene Selassie is a dharma teacher, writer, coach and consultant. She began studying Buddhism over 25 years ago as an undergraduate at McGill University where she majored in Comparative Religious Studies. She has an MA from the New School where she focused on race and cultural studies. For over 20 years she worked with children, youth, and families nationally and internationally for small and large social justice and social change programs. Her work has taken her everywhere from the Tenderloin in San Francisco to East Harlem, NY, to refugee camps in Guinea. She is the former Executive Director of New York Insight Meditation Center and currently serves on the boards of both the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Sacred Mountain Sangha. Sebene is passionate about making the dharma accessible and relevant for our times and teaches regularly online, in New York City, and nationally. Sebene is a 3-time cancer survivor.

About Brian Lesage
Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India, as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma. You can also visit his website for Somatic Experiencing here.


Access Notes: There is one short flight of stairs leading to the entrance to the building. Please press 3-0 to be buzzed in. The center is located at the top of a steeper second staircase of around 20 steps. A ramp and elevator are available via an alternate entrance; please email in advance if you need access to the ramp. Chairs, benches, and extra support cushions are available. We are not yet a fragrance-free space; our hand soap is scented with essential oils. If you have any additional questions about accessibility, please contact us at info@brooklynzen.org.