Buddhist Studies: The Dharma of Difference

A 5-week Wednesday night series


The Interdependence Project
302 Bowery 3rd Floor / Middle buzzer
New York, NY 10012
United States
Phone: 917.675.7151


Wed, 5/29/2013, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Wed, 6/5/2013, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Wed, 6/12/2013, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Wed, 6/19/2013, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Wed, 6/26/2013, 7:00pm - 9:00pm




The Dharma of Difference: Awakening in Diverse Community

So, here we are.  Sharing this world, this city, this contemplative community.  With people we know and people we don't know.  People we like, people we don't like -- and people we don't even notice.  People we share backgrounds and interests with.  People with whom we have almost nothing in common.  All of us.  Together.

The teachings of the historical Buddha suggest that we're meant to awaken in spiritual community, or sangha, and that in times of doubt or distress we can turn to the sangha for strength, support, and inspiration.  

Our relationships with fellow meditators and practitioners on the spiritual path are of great mutual benefit.  And, as we may have experienced, they can also be a great mutual pain in the neck.  We make assumptions about another's experience and we our foot in our mouth.  Someone offends us, we feel hurt or threatened, but we don't know how to address it.  

Lucky for us, many of the qualities of mind and heart that we develop through our practice of meditation can be applied to our social interactions.  In fact, bringing them into the room can make the difference between an impossible obstacle to being in community and an opportunity to grow in wisdom and compassion.

How can our differences be our teachers?

This class will be taught by Kate Johnson and Lani Rowe, and assisted by Paul Sireci.

5/29: Anatta and Identity.  Exploring the Buddhist concept of "no-self" alongside more contemporary models of healthy self-esteem, examining how identity can imprison us as well as how it can help move us toward liberation

6/5: Power, privilege, and "beginner's mind."  Cultivating non-judgemental awareness, curiosity, and enthusiasm in meditation, and turning those qualities toward exploring the dynamics of diverse community

6/12: Setting boundaries with compassion. Opening our hearts to our own and others' suffering, setting appropriate boundaries to support healthier relationships

6/19: Beloved Community -- where love and justice meet.  What would an enlightened society look like?  Thoughts on building a community that reflects the hearts of its members, where no one is left outside the door.

6/26: Living in Interdependence -- a panel discussion.  Invited guests from the fields of spirituality and social justice will discuss their experiences living, working, and growing in community.

Kate Johnson, Teacher

A lifelong dancer and longtime yogi, Kate finally learned to sit still at The Interdependence Project, where she completed the year-long Training Immersion Program in December 2011.  A student in the Insight (Vipassana) meditation tradition, she will complete the Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation teacher training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center this year. Kate teaches yoga and mindfulness meditation to high school students in public schools throughout NYC, and is a co-owner of Third Root Community Health Center (www.thirdroot.org), a radically accessible holistic health care cooperative in Brooklyn, NY.

Lani Feinberg-Rowe, Teacher

Lani holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University and was the founding student coordinator of the MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics and Society. Her dissertation was entitled Love and War in the Writings of St. Augustine. She is currently a business and technology consultant for small businesses and non-profits and serves as Membership Director on the Board of IDP. A dedicated yoga practitioner and athlete who can often be found experimenting in music composition and oil painting, Lani is committed to embodied and artful mindfulness/awareness training. Having been transformed by meditation practice, her enthusiasm and curiosity for all things Buddhist inspired her to finish the 2012 IDP Yearlong Immersion and Instructor Training. Although she claims no lineage, she is profoundly grateful for the community and home she’s found at IDP and is particularly influenced by the legacy and teachings of the late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, as well as the living Zen luminary Thich Nhat Hanh.

Stephen Graf, Teacher

Stephen Graf hails from eastern Pennsylvania and is proud of it.  He has a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.A. from New York University, where he studied the intersection of identity, politics and language.  He has written three performance pieces on topics ranging from whiteness in its everyday lived forms to the intersections of offense and humor.  He is currently working on a solo play on sexual difference and violence.  Stephen is an alum of EMERGENYC, the Hemispheric New York Emerging Performers Program, and has also performed improv at various venues across the city.


This is a drop-in event, and advance registration is not necessary. We're offering it on a donation basis and ask each participant to contribute $10 - $20 to support our teachers and other initiatives offered by The Interdependence Project. You can also register online for either the whole series or a single class, selecting your donation level from the drop-down menu. If you are registering for a single class, please note the date of the class you will be attending when you are checking out. Thank you!

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