The Four Dignities of Investigating Whiteness & Racism: Sacred Activism Series Part III

Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2023 (19:00 -21:00)
Wednesday, October 25, 2023 (19:00 -21:00)
Wednesday, November 1, 2023 (19:00 -21:00)
Wednesday, November 8, 2023 (19:00 -21:00)
Wednesday, November 15, 2023 (19:00 -21:00)
Price per person: $79
Patron Price: $108

Live Sessions: Oct. 18, 25, Nov. 1, 8 & 15 from 7:00-9:00pm EDT/EST

This program offers an introductory investigation of race, whiteness, and systemic racism for meditation practitioners who identify as white, providing a foundation from which white meditators can begin the path of exploring their own social conditioning and cultivating tools to support them in confronting systemic racism and oppression in our society.

The workshop follows the path of the Four Dignities, a central element of the Shambhala teachings and framework for the meditator’s journey. Integrating Dharma teachings and embodied contemplative practices with material from the study of race, peacebuilding, and history, we will employ these teachings as a guide for how we can show up with fearlessness and gentleness to address racism in our community and society. We will invite curiosity and concerns about racism and create opportunities to increase our awareness of what we as white people often don’t see in ourselves and in our communities.

Meditation Experience: This course is for people who have an established meditation practice in any lineage of meditation and who identify as white.

Live Sessions Include:

  • Guided meditation practice 
  • Contemplations
  • Talks from experienced teachers
  • Discussion periods and breakout groups
  • Question and answer periods
  • Other exercises such as journaling and embodiment exercises 

Participants will leave this course with:

  • Exploration of dharma and anti-racist literature and ideas 
  • A deeper understanding of white conditioning and how it lives in our bodies, impacting both ourselves and others
  • A connection with other meditators who care about racial and social justice

Why a class for white people?

In creating a more awake society, we all have a responsibility to apply the dharma to addressing suffering in our world. This includes white-identified meditators investigating their own social conditioning as white people and how this impacts people of color in our communities and society at large. Many people of color throughout the Shambhala community and other meditation communities have urged white people to do this important work in a setting that does not burden people of color with being the educators. We offer this course in that spirit.

For more information on the reasons for conducting some racial justice and awareness work in an affinity group among people identified with the same race, check out the following resources below. 


  • In Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out, African American Buddhist teacher, author and educator Ruth King recommends exploring “the ignorance and innocence of our racial conditioning and racial character with those of our same race” in what she calls “racial affinity groups.”“ 
  • On pp. 204-206 of her international bestseller Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (2017), Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum discusses the importance of creating spaces for white people to meet in white-only groups to educate themselves about issues of race and white identity. Dr. Tatum is president emerita of Spelman College, a historically black women’s liberal arts college. 
  • The organization White Awake, whose multi-racial advisory council includes meditation teachers Rev. angel Kyodo williams and Tara Brach, offers lengthy discussions of the value of white people meeting together to investigate whiteness and racism. 

This article in The Arrow Journal by Shambhala Educator, Alex Vlasic is an excellent read on How White Caucuses Contribute to Racial Justice.

Still have questions or curiosity? Don’t hesitate to reach out.

About the Teachers

Gabe Dayley has designed and led dharma workshops to examine whiteness and racism, to investigate toxic masculinity, and to address our personal and collective ecological footprint. He currently works on climate action in local government, with a focus on ensuring that strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation are equitable, inclusive, and just. Gabe also founded and edits The Arrow Journal, which investigates applications of contemplative wisdom traditions to confronting pressing social and ecological challenges. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the DC Shambhala Center, and was raised in the Shambhala tradition by students of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Gabe received a master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University, where he focused on the application of conflict transformation to addressing environmental harm.

Sue Gilman began practicing and studying Buddhism in Atlanta in the late 1980’s. Currently the Director of the Atlanta Shambhala Center, Sue was also a member of the Boston Shambhala Center, the Director of Sky Lake Lodge in New York, and the Director of Development at Karme Choling in Vermont. She has been teaching in Shambhala for almost twenty years. Sue is a member of the board of Compassionate Atlanta and a facilitator of Compassionate Integrity Training. She has designed and facilitated conversations about bias and prejudice, race and whiteness for a decade. She is currently a co-facilitator of Unlearning Racism, a white awareness group at the Atlanta Shambhala Center, and a member of the DeKalb County NAACP Remembrance and Reconciliation Project.

Alison Pepper, LCSW, has been studying and practicing meditation and Buddhism as a part of the NY Shambhala community since 2006. Her social justice work began in high school and anti-racist work deepened in grad school at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter in NYC. Today Alison mixes her passions for art, body work, social justice and meditation in her NY therapy office as a Buddhist psychotherapist. She continues to co-facilitate a monthly white group with fellow Racial Justice and Dharma warriors (check us out if your interested in knowing more ). When Alison isn't in the shrine room or therapy office you will find her outside, playing with friends or home with her sweet cat Pickles!

PLEASE NOTE: Prices are in US Dollars . Request a discount before you register to allow for exchange rates or other discounts.

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