“Part personal reflection, part guidebook, part manifesto, and part analysis of what ails our country and our Dharma communities, Awakening Together is a treasure-trove of insight and hands-on advice, gleaned from years of experience and offered with clarity, gentleness and—most of all—with love.”
—from the foreword by Jan Willis
For every center, organization, or individual who wishes to create a welcoming community for all, this book is a must-read.
How can we connect our personal spiritual journeys with the larger course of our shared human experience? How do we compassionately and wisely navigate belonging and exclusion in our own hearts? And how can we embrace diverse identities and experiences within our spiritual communities, building sanghas that make good on the promise of liberation for everyone?
If you aren’t sure how to start this work, Awakening Together is for you. If you’ve begun but aren’t sure what the next steps are, this book is for you. If you’re already engaged in this work, this book will remind you none of us do this work alone. Whether you find yourself at the center or at the margins of your community, whether you’re a community member or a community leader, this book is for you.
From the foreword by Jan Willis:
“Especially in times like these, fraught on every side with threats from racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, and anti-queer bias, a welcoming and safe space for meditation practice is the most kind and compassionate thing we can create for each other. And yet, in Dharma settings, people [with marginalized identifies] feel, in Larry’s words, ‘unattended, unloved, unseen, and even harmed.’
Awakening Together provides us with a detailed, step-by-step blueprint of the hard work involved in creating and maintaining a diverse community and, in doing so, shows us how we can begin and continue to build an inclusive sangha.
If you are ready to commit to the idea that we, as a diverse group of Buddhists, ought to be able to awaken together, and to honor and share all of what and who we are in the process, then take up this book, Larry’s loving clarion call. Consciously, mindfully, read Awakening Together with openness and with joy.”
Reviews and Endorsements:
“I don’t see how Awakening Together could be better. It is so wise, thoughtful, dedicated to our healthful growth, ease, and enlightenment through the Dharma that I know I will be reading it for years to come. Larry Yang seems to have thought of everything we will need as we venture bravely forward—through racism, prejudice, ignorance, and poor home training—into the free spiritual beings we were meant to be. Together.”
— Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple
“Awakening Together is filled with love. Larry Yang plants your feet, offers his hand, and without hesitation opens our eyes. His teachings on creating and sustaining communities that welcome the full range of our life experiences, are clear and poignant. He skillfully walks us into a vision of an inclusive spiritual home in which we can unfold and reveal our true selves. As a seasoned, and well-loved dharma teacher, his long-awaited gift satisfies the soul that yearns to be seen. Deep bows, beloved friend, for this offering.”
— Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author of The Way of Tenderness
“In Awakening Together, Larry Yang shares an in-depth personal journey and his professional experience of wise and actionable guidance for building inclusive Buddhist communities. A must read for anyone interested in understanding the integrities of belonging.”
— Ruth King, dharma teacher, life coach, and author of Healing and Mindful of Race
“Awakening Together is essential reading as we seek to heal our own hearts, our communities and our world.”
— Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“A marvelous book, unstoppable in its promise. The integrity and timeliness of Larry Yang’s teaching has the power of an incoming tide.”
— Joanna Macy, author of Coming Back to Life
“This book is a much needed call to revolution for the western Buddhist communities. Larry has clearly and wisely pointed out the path we must travel to overthrow the systems of oppression and separation that plague our society and are mirrored in the sangha. Read this book and change!”
— Noah Levine, Dharma Punx
“Larry Yang’s Awakening Together seamlessly blends the personal with the political. He helps us to see that waking up in all forms is an essential spiritual practice—and that nothing is excluded, including the thorny areas of race, culture, and identity. Larry is a thought leader in this work and his compassionate insight shines through as a guide to us all. This book is a game-changer.”
— Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and co-author of Fully Present
“For the first time—a Dharma book that is a roadmap showing collective pathways out of social suffering. In a voice both passionate and wise, Larry Yang guides us to co-create spiritual communities that embrace the pain of oppression and inequity as integral to the ground of compassion and liberatory spiritual practice.”
— Mushim Patricia Ikeda, Buddhist teacher, author, and activist
About the Author:
Larry Yang teaches meditation retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse multicultural communities. Larry has practiced extensively in Burma and Thailand, with a six month period of ordination as a Buddhist monk under the guidance of meditation master Ajahn Tong. Larry is one of the core teachers and leaders of the East Bay Meditation Center and is on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council. He is one of the coordinating teachers of the Spirit Rock Teacher Training program and their Community Dharma Leader program. He lives in San Francisco.
Jan Willis is the author of Dreaming of Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist—One Woman’s Spiritual Journey. She teaches at Wesleyan University, and lives in Connecticut.
Sylvia Boorstein is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and is the author of It’s Easier than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness, as well as several other books