Only parts of this article were included in the March bulletin. This is the complete piece.
Feb. 9 ASDIC workshop summary by Martin Hernandez

Racial Justice

We currently have four main initiatives at Clouds in Water having to to with Racial Justice:                

  • The LAB….Race, Love and Liberation Laboratory (for growing spiritual things)
  • The People of Color/Indigenous Peoples Sitting Group (POCI Sitting group)
  • The Dismantling Whiteness Group
  • The Engaged Buddhism Ryo, led by Gentle Dragon Kennedy

Here is more about each:

The Race Love and Liberation Laboratory (for growing spiritual things) a/k/a “the Lab”. Who we are, what we are doing, and why it matters:

“The Lab” refers to a group of practitioners of color operating out of Clouds in Water Zen Center. We are supported by the Clouds in Water teaching staff through the participation of Guiding Teacher Rev. Sosan Theresa Flynn. We draw from Zen Buddhist teachings to nourish the many dimensions of racial justice in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Building on years of work around racial awareness at Clouds, our first initiative in October 2017 brought Rev. angel Kyodo williams to Clouds for four days of discussion, reflection, and meditation on the theme of “Race, Love, and Liberation.” Inspired by Rev. angel’s powerful presence and the dynamic multicultural/multifaith/multiracial energy of that event, we realized that we were in the position to “grow more spiritual things” led by and for people of color. New growths coming after that weekend include: twice-a-month Sunday sitting meditation sessions for people of color only; a collaborative two-day workshop and retreat with the Million Artist Movement and Don’t You Feel it Too?; a five-week class focused on Rev. angel’s book, Radical Dharma; and a dismantling whiteness practice group for white people.

The LAB supports conversation and reflection to examine and appreciate how Buddhism has been stewarded by white people and white culture, and to find out what we can to do re-imagine and re-interpret Buddhist practices for the liberation of all beings. We have observed that by bringing zazen together with an explicit concern for racial justice, people of color can turn the Dharma Wheel.

Members left to right: Karin San Juan, Raúl Ramos, Carol Iwata, Marcus Young,  Sōsan Flynn and Chee Hallowell.



People of Color Indigenous Peoples Sitting Group (POCI)

2nd & 4th Sundays: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Please direct questions to carol [dot] iwata [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

Dismantling Whiteness Group

Last Sunday of the month, 10:45 – 12:00 p.m.
Facilitated by Sosan Flynn and Genjo Conway

Please direct questions to genjo [dot] sam [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

The Engaged Buddhism Ryo

This group is led by Gentle Dragon Kennedy and meets monthly, as arranged
Vision statement of the Engaged Buddhism Ryo:

We are Buddhist practitioners, who are actively engaging the vow to do no harm. We are under the umbrella of Clouds in Water Zen Center, but invite members of other centers to join. We are aware of the dehumanization and fear inherent to white supremacy. We intentionally place ourselves in alignment with Indigenous Nations and People of Color. We actively practice with our fear and enter into places of suffering. We apply Bernie Glassman Roshi’s paradigm of the 3 tenets. These are:

  1.  Don’t know mind
  2.  Bearing witness to Suffering
  3.  Responding to the action that emerges from this deep presence.

By entering into places of suffering, we step into accountability for white supremacy.  We step towards the liberation from white supremacy. With compassion and wisdom, we vow to continue bearing witness to the innumerable places of suffering of Indigenous Nations, people of color and all beings. Knowing we are stronger together, we work in partnership with interfaith organizations and other buddhists communities to build solidarity and dismantle white supremacy. Deepening our connection across faith traditions is a vital part of collective liberation and loving action.

Criteria for participation in the Engaged Buddhism Ryo: All candidates:

  1. Will have been involved in anti-racist processes, meditation and  ethical practices.
  2. Will have a strong commitment and energy to participate in engaged non-violent action.
  3. Must be willing and able to actively help coordinate non-violent direct actions on behalf of Buddhist and interfaith communities.
  4. Will participate in monthly planning meeting.

Please direct questions to Gentle Dragon Kennedy

gentledragon [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org