Fall Ango 2020
Racism in America through the Lens of the Three Pure Precepts
Sunday September 20, 2020 - Sunday December 13, 2020
Racism is a heart disease, and it's curable. Now that we have allowed ourselves to be diagnosed, we can move toward the surgical intervention of mindfulness and begin to unlock the arteries of racial humanity. The procedure will take some time, but the prognosis is promising.
-- Ruth King, Mindful of Race
As practitioners of Buddhadharma, the foundation of our practice is our commitment to constantly turn and re-turn our attention toward reality as it is. This Ango (what is Ango?), the Buddhist Temple of Toledo sangha will explore the reality of systemic racism in America, in our community, and in our own hearts through the lens of Three Pure Precepts:
- Do No Harm
- Practice Dharma
- Actualize Good for Others
Systemic racism is a reality in our lives. As our Board of Directors recently said in an open letter to the Sangha, “The senseless recent killings of Black Americans are nothing new. Racism is not getting worse; it is simply getting filmed. … We mourn for and with the families who have lost loved ones to racism.”
And we do not stop with mourning. There are many excellent resources available for the general public interested in understanding and undoing racism, and we encourage you to explore them. Our particular purpose this Ango as a Buddhist community is to turn our Dharma practice toward the difficult work of confronting racism -- in America, in our communities, and in our own hearts.
Racism is a heated topic because it is wrapped up around our sense of identity -- our sense of ownership of a “me” that is “mine” and that is solid and fixed over and against everything else. Some topics are explosive because when we think about them or talk about them, we are directly confronting our sense of self -- your sense of yourself as a good, kind, smart, wholesome person, or any other characteristics, even your sense of yourself as a bad, lazy, or lacking person. Without Dharma training, we can’t bear having our sense of self threatened. It takes a lot of time and patience, and all of the paramitas, to engage with a difficult topic. With Dharma training, we start to be able to examine the algorithm of our suffering and investigate that sense of "me" and "my".
-- Rinsen Roshi and Do’on Osho
Looking deeply and honestly at racism requires us to look deeply and honestly at our ego. There is no possibility of liberation from ego without seeing the reality of racism, and no possibility of liberation from racism without seeing the reality of ego. And we must see our ego and our own racism to open the possibility of alleviating suffering for others.
This is heavy work and urgent work -- and you will not be doing it alone. Our Teachers Rinsen and Do’on will lead us in the work, our lineage of ancestors will support us in many ways including through the words of The Harmony of Relative and Absolute, our Ango book from Dharma Teacher Ruth King will guide us, and as always we have each other for support and encouragement.
Do’on Osho gets us started with this encouragement: "All of us benefit from our willingness to engage in the training. It is so nurturing for the rest of the Sangha when we get to bear witness and see how each of us goes through that process of taking off and liberating that samsaric mask."
Our Ango texts are:
Ruth King's Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism for the Inside Out
- Toledo Public Library
- Amazon (if you buy, you can use Amazon Smile to give a little back to the Temple)
The Harmony of Relative and Absolute
- from our Chant Book for Sutra Service and Sesshin. (This is also sometimes translated and referred to as the Identity of Relative and Absolute)
Each of our three Ango workshops will explore racism through the lens of one of the Three Pure Precepts and the teachings from the Identity of Relative and Absolute. The complete list of Ango events is below, and also check out our guidance on deepening your personal bodhisattva practice for Ango.
May we open our hearts and minds to the suffering of this world, work towards its alleviation, and in doing so meet our edges and the edges of others with kindness, wisdom, and compassion. May we embrace this work as an opportunity for the deep work of eroding the hindrances to the realization of our true nature, the nature we share with all beings without exception.
Special Events for Fall Ango 2020
All Fall Ango 2020 events are virtual only. The Temple Building is closed through December 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic