Episode 163 :: Tuere Sala :: People of Color Sanghas

| April 6, 2013 | 4 Comments

tuere_sala

Tuere Sala

Meditation teacher and community leader Tuere Sala speaks with us about moving from a monotheistic tradition to Buddhism, and supporting the growth of diversity in our sanghas.

Our race is more than simply the color of our skins. There are subtle but profound cultural templates, and ways of thinking, that permeate and motivate us in what we do. Safety isn’t always just being physically secure, but emotionally, idiologically having a place of mental and physical belonging and ease. How we get there can be quite a challenge.

Tuere Sala has been a Vipassana meditation practitioner for over 20 years. She has been a practicing member of Seattle Insight Meditation Society since 2001, and teaches beginning and post-beginning meditation classes. Tuere also facilitates daylong workshops around using nonviolent communication to support a mindfulness practice, and has participated in the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Program.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Seattle’s Best coffee.

Quotes

“We need to bring the dharma beyond where it’s been. We need to be able to teach the unusual practitioner, the outcast practitioner,” Sala says. “You can’t get to those deep places without someone there to guide you, to hold your truth while you take a chance with yourself.” — Tuere Sala

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Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The track used in this episode is “Traces of Truth” from his CD, Traces of Truth.

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Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (4)

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  1. chuck13 chuck13 says:

    There also seems to be a need for socio-economic diversity in Western Buddhism as well. To me, this is also a cultural barrier and an obstacle for many people. The stereotypical western Buddhist, white, educated, upper middle class, psychotherapist type. I personally can’t relate to any of that. It really is two different worlds and often times I feel out of place. I grew up dirt poor, dropped out of high school, spent a long time on the streets, got into loads of trouble, booze, drugs, fights, more fights, etc…For people from working class backgrounds it’s difficult to relate to the typical western Buddhist group. It’s also expensive! A weekend retreat at Zen Mountain Monastery is completely out of reach for someone like me, living check to check raising a family. And a 10 day vipassana retreat? How does someone without serious financial security even take 10 days off from work? How do we even suggest a single mother try that? It’s a dilemma. One that I think we need to seriously work on if this practice is going to be accessible to all.

  2. Ted Meissner Ted Meissner says:

    You’re absolutely right, Chuck, those are so closely linked. It’s one of the reasons we don’t charge for anything found on this site, and we know just having it online isn’t enough — we want to do more.

    Great point about taking time off from work, too. We don’t all get weeks of paid vacation, or have enough income to pay for the retreat, let alone getting there and all the rest of the costs associated with being away from home that long.

    This coming weekend’s episode is with the founder of Mindful Moms Network, that might be a good question to pose on her site, too.

  3. Jennifer Hawkins Jennifer Hawkins says:

    As I catch up, I’m developing more and more conspiracy theories… anyways, I can definitely relate to the “walk into a room and every White person stares at me” experience. I’m glad that didn’t happen here. However, I don’t like the idea of Sanghas just for “POC.” Aside from the segregation aspect (which doesn’t help to create positive experiences between different racial groups), it ignores the fact that African Americans (etc) are not some monolithic whole. I, for example, wouldn’t fit in well in some kind Sangha meant for those with an “urban” experience or even a “rural South” experience. Instead, I’d suggest Sanghas that are created by interests instead of race. I’d get along with everyone in a “geek” Sangha (for example) regardless of race. By offering enough DIVERSITY of Sanghas, you’ll generate diversity without some weird “BLACK ONLY” Sangha. (Just sayin’)

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