The Triratna Racial Diversity Sanghaan introduction
The Triratna Racial Diversity project began in January 2022 and is funded for two years. The project aims to promote and encourage more people of colour to walk through the doors of our Triratna Centres and to deepen their engagement with meditation and Buddhism in our community.
The project aims to spread the Dharma to a new demographic across the UK particularly, with learning and good practice shared across Europe and other parts of the Triratna world.
People of colour, as a demographic, are poorly represented within UK Triratna, even though many Centres do have a handful of people in introductory classes, we are aware that many
do not go on to progress within spiritual pathways. This is despite the fact that we know the Dharma has much to offer our communities.
The project will develop a strong online presence, building a sense of community and growing visibility of the potential and power of meditation and the Dharma that is relevant and appropriate for people of colour. We intend to:
– Develop an outwardly facing website, with an emphasis on images and stories that target and ‘speak’ to people of colour audiences, the website will signpost visitors to sessions and events, both new and existing across the UK.
– Grow an engaging social media presence with links to bookings for upcoming events at local Centres.
– Work with our local Centres across the UK, specifically where demographics show that there is reach and relevance for uptake by our audience, there will be support for planning, promoting and delivering local events for people of colour.
Go to our Resources section to access articles, posters, photos and social media campaign templates to help your Centre get started.
If you are a mitra and would benefit from contacting the team who support people of colour then do get in touch
An introduction to the Triratna Racial Diversity Steering Group
The project has taken some time to come into being, with many of the steering group members working over many years to highlight the need for more racially diverse Sanghas to help grow our movement and alleviate suffering in the world.
This work is not new – there were People of Colour retreats and introductory sessions in London back in the 1990’s, delivered by Paramachitta and Amaragita, amongst others. Some of our current Black Order Members, such as Suryagupta, Jayakara and Bodhilila, all came to meditation and the Dharma through these targetted events for people of colour.
Back in the day, the events were focused in and around London, where we now see a steady flow of mitras and Order members of Colour at our Triratna centres. Although still in a minority and often not representing the local demographics, there was a small community beginning to establish.
Outside of London, many Order Members and mitras often felt isolated and local Sanghas were finding it hard, or did not see the relevance of attracting or engaging people of colour to introductory classes.
Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the response within our Triratna Sanghas, it was recognised that there was a need for a concerted effort in this area to welcome and engage people of colour.
The Steering group is made up of Paramachitta, Jayadevi, Suryagupta, Bodhilila, Aryavacin, Saravantu and Maitrisara. All are either Order Members of colour or active in the area of anti-racism within our Triratna context. They bring a huge amount of and lived expereince to help steer and oversee the project and its outcomes.
Attracting and engaging people of colour at your centre is what this project is all about. To help you and your Centre get started, here’s an offering that we hope will equip you and your local centre or retreat centre with information, guidance and resources.
- pdf: Draft Triratna Gender Affirmation Process Policy
- pdf: Developing trans-competence (printable booklet)
- pdf: Pathways for supporting gender diverse, trans & non-binary people
- Powerpoint: intro to trans & gender diverse identities
- Powerpoint: how to support gender diverse people in Triratna
- website: Gender Identity Research & Education Society
- website: Gendered Intelligence
- Info about book: The Way of Tenderness…
- Webpage: everything you need to know about non-binary identities