angel kyodo williams

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an open invitation



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an open invitation to Bay Area POC & allies


My sincere wish is that this finds you well and in good health.

As many of you may already know, ever since the catalystic back to back African-American and People of Color retreats held at Spirit Rock in August last year, I have expressed an intention to move my primary place of residence from Brooklyn, NY to the Bay Area this coming Fall 2003.

Directly connected to this intention is a deep interest in exploring, cultivating and seeing manifest a vision for an inclusive meditation-based center to be located in the East Bay. This center would have at its very heart, an abiding interest and attention to the needs of dharma practitioners of color and, by extension, the needs of our immediate community.

Of course all allies and relations of people of color are fully welcome and invited to be a part. Simultaneously, it has long been evident that as a result of the existing power, social and cultural dynamics of our country, attention to the particulars of race and culture identity are still necessary, even in the realm of spiritual practice, where our relationship to external identities is what is we work with and through.

It seems to me the time has come to spend less time lamenting over how we would expect and hope Dharma to unfold, and give our energy-attention, with joyfulness, to creating spacious containers that invite our highest aspirations to become real for us all.

Last November, a talk and council circle entitled "Cultivating Community" was held at the Berkeley Zen Center to elicit feedback and plant seeds for a larger discussion and visioning process.

urbanPEACE/New Dharma

Now, I would like to invite us all to take up the question of what such a center would look like towards seeing it come into being. I also offer my willingness to hold the tender early threads of this conversation together until a cohesive circle emerges with energy of its own to move forward.

To that end, an open discussion list has been set up for anyone that possesses heartfelt interest to join in:

Further cultivating my relationship with the Bay Area, two daylongs will be held on Saturday & Sunday, June 21-22nd at the conference center of San Francisco Zen Center. Saturday's daylong will integrate specific opportunities to further expand this dialog, including breakout sessions for visioning and planning interspersed with sitting practice. In this way, I hope the "business" of building community can stay closely aligned with the practice of community itself.

I strongly encourage you to make time for this event if at all possible. A separate accouncement with registration and further details will be mailed this evening.

If you are particularly energized around this idea and wish to help hold this vision in any way in this early stage, please do not hesitate to email me directly.

I hope this will raise for each of you the many questions & challenges about intention, aesthetic, ownership, form, power, community, structure and so on that it seems likely to. I hope you will feel compelled to bring those questions to the table, blessing all of us with your input, energy and that most valuable resource we as dharma practitioners each possess, treasure and seek to cultivate, loving attention.

Pass this message along widely, inviting all that may come.

With warm blessings and in peace,

Angel Kyodo Williams