As events unfold and call us to support each by challenging systemic racial violence and by engaging in non-harming through social distancing, our ability to remember the strengths we have forged as members of the LGBTQIA+ community are all the more important.
Please join Peggy Gillespie and Phoenix Soleil for this meditation and dharma discussion bringing us together during Pride Month. Peggy and Phoenix will lead a meditation and offer dharma sharings on practicing metta, liberation through the dharma, remembering LGBTQIA+ history and pride, and acting together for social change.
Sunday, June 21, 7pm. All are welcome. No registration necessary.
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The Zoom link and password can be found on our homepage within the calendar listing. Click the name and the links will be above the description.
In the interest of encouraging generous support for our teachers and meeting InsightPV's expenses, there will be a suggested donation, with 60% going to the teacher and 40% to the center. As always, this donation is completely voluntary and is a personal decision. Please know that accessibility is very important to us; everyone is welcome at all of our events regardless of ability to donate.
Be a light unto yourself; betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth.
~ The Buddha
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
~ June Jordan
The killing of George Floyd has had a crushing impact on our hearts, both on its own and as one in a long line of acts of police violence against black people in this country. Indeed, it occurred very close on the heels of the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. We stand in solidarity with those who are rising up to say that state violence against people of color must end. We resonate deeply with the grief and clarity being expressed now by so many across our country.
The Buddha said “hold fast to the truth,” the dharma. In this moment of global crisis, we are called upon to face the truth of racism individually and in community. We recognize racism and white supremacy have a long legacy in this country. Let us further draw on the steadiness of mind and the expansiveness of heart that we cultivate in our practice to take compassionate, discerning, decisive action against racism. It is crucial that we reject complacency and indifference in the face of violence and that we understand there are many ways to root out systemic racism and its impacts. At the bottom of this email is a non-inclusive list of possible actions. We cite these not to endorse any particular action but to point to the many possibilities available to us, and to illustrate that, as dharma practitioners, in each moment, we have a choice to make about whether and how to take action. Each of us can look into our hearts and decide on any appropriate action based on the conditions of our lives.
To ground our intentions in the dharma, we encourage you to attend two upcoming IPV offerings:
We are also offering small, peer-led discussion groups on the topic of how sangha members might bring their dharma practice into conversation with anti-racist political action and awareness. If you are interested in participating in one of these groups, you can sign up here.
We leave you with a poem by Ross Gay quoted below, which illustrates the benefit of the good actions taken by those we have lost that continue to reverberate through our lives. In the days ahead, let us find refuge in our wholesome actions and those of many others.
Trellis Stepter, Board President
Tara Mulay, Interim Guiding Teacher
The Beloved Community Builders Committee of the Board of Insight Pioneer Valley
By Tara Mulay, Interim Guiding Teacher
Dear Insight Pioneer Valley Sangha,
As the deaths in the United States from COVID-19 reach 100,000 and above, I would like to invite you to come together in community on Thursday, May 28 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm to honor those whose lives have been lost and all those who are facing challenges during this pandemic. A short dharma talk will be offered, and we will meditate for 20 minutes. Members of the community will be invited, if they choose, to share their reflections.
The motivation of this communal gathering is to further align our intentions with the dharma. The Pali word “sati,” which is often translated as “mindfulness,” literally means “to remember.” With mindfulness, we remember to be aware of the present moment and also to meet our present circumstances with compassion and wisdom, rather than with rejection, clinging, or denial. As we open our hearts we can experience greater tenderness in knowing the suffering of others and become aware of our profound interconnectedness, including the vital ways we draw strength from our communities and dharma friendships.
Many have recognized that our dharma practice is more precious than ever in the times of this pandemic. COVID-19 has changed our world, our lives, and the way we connect. As the pandemic has disproportionately impacted vulnerable communities and workers, it has laid bare inequities in our society that impact the health and livelihoods of so many. People of color, in particular, have been sickened and died in disproportionately greater numbers. Many feel an impulse to assist and to bring about change in the myriad conditions that are worsening the impact of the virus, and at times we can experience wholesome joy when we see so many acting out of goodness to contribute to others’ well being.
In 2007, Bhikkhu Bodhi called upon Western Buddhists to address the “systemic embodiments of greed, hatred, and delusion.” We can always begin by taking refuge in the dharma, the sangha, and the Buddha, which is manifest in our individual and collective capacity for awakening. In that spirit, I invite you to join in this community act of remembrance and honoring on Thursday at 5:30 pm.
Interim Guiding Teacher
By Tara Mulay
During this dharma talk and discussion evening, we will talk about the first noble eightfold path factor of Wise View or Wise Perspective and how it can support us as dharma practitioners in these times. We will also explore the understandings that can arise from external mindfulness and that can help us in meeting the current experiences of the pandemic.
Join Tara on Wednesday, May 26, 7:00-8:30pm.
Blog posts are written by various IPV and guest teachers. Biographies can be found on the Teachers page.