Jun 09

Addressing Racism and White Privilege

By Tara Mandala

Dear Tara Mandala Sangha and Friends,

We are outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many other Black people who have been victims of police brutality and white supremacy violence. We at Tara Mandala stand in solidarity with Black, Brown, Indigenous People of Color (BBIPOC) and the protesters and activists who are speaking out against systemic racism and white supremacy.

The leadership at Tara Mandala is looking deeply into how we can unearth and heal the systematic racism and white supremacy within ourselves, our community, and our society. We are also looking at ways to create a more equitable community, one where everyone feels welcome, heard, safe, and supported.

It is our intention to clearly state our commitment to listening and supporting our BBIPOC community so that we may become co-accomplices in ending white supremacy and racism. Through this, we hope to become allies to those who have experienced oppression and trauma due to systemic racism. We also commit to continue to work with our white community to engage in training and consciousness raising regarding racism, bias (overt, covert, or implicit), micro-aggressions, inequity, and other forms of discrimination that we as individuals and an organization perpetuate.

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 Tara Mandala 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 BBIPOC Meditation Group.
  • We will not look to our BBIPOC 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 BBIPOC 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 BBIPOC.
  • 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 practices such as the Sixth Tara ‘The Great Fierce One’ using meditation practice as a form of activism, thereby using the skillful means of Vajrayana in a practical way to confront this issue. Tara is the original activist known as The Swift Responder.
  • 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.

May this be the moment of deep lasting change in all of us. May the ways of thinking that perpetuate racism, violence, white supremacy, and hate be transformed into skillful action, loving kindness, and equity.

With deep appreciation and commitment and on behalf of the Tara Mandala International Buddhist Organization,

Lama Tsultrim Allione, Spiritual Director, Founder
Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton, Asst. Spiritual Director, Teacher
Dorje Lopön Charlotte Rotterdam, Magyu Lopön, Teacher
Dorje Gyaltsab Tulku Ösel Dorje, Ösel Nyingtig Lineage holder, Teacher
Lopön Pieter Oosthuizen, President of the Board of Trustees, Teacher
Joanne Brion, Executive Director

(Photo by Jakayla Toney)
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