Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Tara Mandala

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council

As of 2022, we continue to work diligently on equity, diversity and inclusion of our global sangha started in earnest in late 2014. At that time, Lama Tsultrim initiated an exploration of how Feeding Your Demons® could be applied to our personal and cultural demons of racism, privilege, and oppression. She invited Karla Jackson-Brewer, Lopön Chandra Easton, and Rev. Jamil Scott to develop a curriculum, and in January 2015 they launched a series called “Compassionately Awake to Oppression and Privilege” in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the fall of 2015, Tara Mandala established the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council to address issues of underrepresentation of people from different cultural, racial, sexual orientation, and social backgrounds in the Dharma and at Tara Mandala. 

Tara Mandala works to create an environment where the richness of diverse perspectives, backgrounds and life experiences are appreciated and welcomed. We support the expression and experience of cultural literacy. We offer training to our staff, teachers, Living Dharma Apprentice Program (LDAP) participants, and our broader sangha with resources that strengthen the cultural literacy of our community at large. We have founded a BBAIPOC (Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous People of Color) Meditation Sangha, an anti-racist Severing Attachment to White Supremacy (SAWS) Sangha, and we are in the process of creating an LGBTQIA+ Sangha.

To learn more about the meaning of white supremacy and liberation through the lens of Dharma, click here to read this talk by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams.

Donate to the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Scholarship >>

The purpose of Tara Mandala’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work is:

  • To promote cultural literacy in our sangha
  • To foster diversity, inclusion, and equity in the Dharma, specifically at Tara Mandala and her global sanghas around the world
  • To be a place of refuge and healing for those who have been marginalized
  • To bring the Dharma principles of compassion, love, wisdom, and interdependence into our relationships and practice path

EDI Annual Updates:

At a glance, in 2022 the EDI Council organized training for our entire staff and board members, as well as our teachers. This EDI training was delivered by Equity in the Center and focused on organizational change to create a race-equity framework that includes all levels of the organization in order to promote diversity and inclusion of marginalized people into the greater structure of Tara Mandala.

The EDI Council welcomed a new member, Pamela Ambrose, who will be guiding a newly forming LGBTQ+ sangha community.

Karla Jackson-Brewer, Senior Teacher and EDI Co-Chair, is producing an in-house EDI training that looks at microaggressions, cultural literacy, and interpersonal relationships with respect to race, equity, diversity, and inclusion through a Buddhist lens. This training will be offered to the Tara Mandala staff, board, and teachers in 2023 with a planned roll-out of this training to our entire community in 2024.

To read the most current annual update, see this link.

As an organization we commit to the following:

  • As Dharma practitioners, we are committed to a journey of discovering and uprooting our ignorance and unconscious bias regarding issues of racism, sexism, misogyny, and heterosexism, among other forms of bias.
  • Continue, expand, and fund our work with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council, developing an overall comprehensive EDI Plan which includes education, training, workshops, and conversations with staff, teachers, and leaders in the organization.
  • As part of our EDI work, establish the Severing Attachment to White Supremacy (SAWS) Sangha, whose focus is to address these issues.
  • Continue to fund our EDI Scholarship Fund
  • Continue to support the BBAIPOC Meditation Group.
  • We will not look to our BBAIPOC sangha members or teachers to do this work for us. White leadership commits to doing our own work and taking responsibility for the ways that inaction and silence is complicit in racist systems.
  • Support BBAIPOC Dharma teachers and centers and form alliances with these individuals and organizations to bring their work to the forefront and into Tara Mandala onsite and online programs.
  • Tara Mandala supports organizations that are tackling racism, white privilege, and white supremacy and the policies that sustain it or the status quo so they can continue their important work.
  • We commit to embodying ‘Aspirational Bodhicitta’ through the Four Immeasurables: compassion, kindness, empathetic joy, and equanimity in our everyday lives and actions to ensure they apply to all people, including BBAIPOC.
  • We commit to enacting ‘Bodhicitta in Action’ through the Six Perfections: generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom. 
  • We challenge our community to look inward and deeply at their own lives and unconscious compliance in a system of race-based oppression that has been part of our history from the beginning. We must learn from our history.
  • We will continue to sponsor Tara Calls to Practice to engage our global sangha  using meditation practice as a form of activism, thereby using the skillful means of Vajrayana in a practical way to confront a current  issue in the world. Tara is the original activist; she’s known as ‘The Swift Responder’.

We will be sending out bi-annual updates about our EDI work. If you do not currently receive our newsletter, please sign up here to receive all Tara Mandala updates.  As we continue to do this work at Tara Mandala, we look forward to your involvement, feedback, and commitment. We encourage you to contact us on this page if you have questions or suggestions.

Tara Mandala BBAIPOC Meditation Sangha

Led by Karla Jackson-Brewer 

Online meetings using the Zoom platform 

Come be a part of Tara Mandala’s BBAIPOC (Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous People of Color) Meditation Sangha led by Karla Jackson-Brewer, long-time Tara Mandala Authorized Teacher and educator in the field of Women’s and Africana studies.

Read More Here

Tara Mandala Authorized Teacher, Karla Jackson-Brewer

Severing Attachment to White Supremacy (SAWS) Sangha

Led by Lopön Chandra Easton and MacAndrew Jack, Ph.D.

Tara Mandala’s Severing Attachment to White Supremacy (SAWS) Sangha is an anti-racist, white-identified group working to decolonize our own minds, sangha, and the world in order to become change agents in this important work of undoing our implicit bias and attachment to privilege, which perpetuate white supremacy and racism. We invite all white-identified sangha members to join us in this important work.

Read More Here

The Thousand Arms Sangha

Led by Pamela Ambrose.

Come be a part of Tara Mandala’s LGBTQIA+ community by joining The Thousand Arms Sangha. We draw inspiration from Chenrezig, the gender fluid bodhisattva of Compassion, who holds a steady and compassionate presence for ALL beings. This is an intentional community of practitioners who come together to practice and reflect on the personal experiences of being LGBTQIA+ within the Buddhist spheres of study and practice.

Read More Here

Tara Mandala Living Dharma Program Students

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Fund

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Scholarship Fund at Tara Mandala was established in 2015. Thanks to the generosity of our sangha members, this Fund is able to award scholarships for onsite retreats, online programs, and program fees for long-term practice programs (Magyu, Gateway, and Ösel Nyingtig).

The Fund for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion awards scholarships to Black, Brown, and Indigenous people of color and/or those who are underrepresented due to their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, ethnicity, or socio-economic situation.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Resources

The following list has been compiled from a variety of sources and is not exhaustive by any means. This list is by no means complete, but is intended to be a place to start. Send any suggestions for inclusions to us on this page.

Current EDI Council Members

The council consists of Lopön Chandra Easton (Dorje Lopön/ Lead Senior Teacher), MacAndrew Jack, PhD (Former President of the Board), Karla Jackson-Brewer, MS (Senior Teacher), Celeste Young (Board Member), Robert Thomas (Executive Director), Tenzin Sangpo (Tara Mandala Resident & Translator/Librarian), Pamela Ambrose (Senior Magyu Student).

Current EDI Advisors

Sylvie Djeddah (French Sangha leader), Iwona Khandro (Polish Sangha Founding member), Ellen Serrano (US Sangha member), & Clifton Carmody (Operations Director).