The Nalanda Institute community is dedicated to the fundamental principles of equality, justice, kindness and wisdom. We are grounded in the values and the timeless truths that each and every human being— regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, size, ability, class, or worldview—has the natural power and right to live a life fully realized: healthy, happy, creative, connected, and liberated.
In the clear awareness that we live in a culture conditioned by ideologies that uphold multiple forms of systemic oppression, we as a society, community, and as individuals too often fall painfully short of realizing and embodying our most deeply held values of equity and liberation for all.
Radical Compassion Social Justice Project
The Radical Compassion Social Justice Project is meant to support our members — old, new, and aspiring — grow to deeply understand, express, and embody these values through personal contemplation and lived relationship with each other. We strive to do this in every aspect of our communal and personal lives, and in our programs, classes, events, and offerings.
The Radical Compassion Social Justice Project is a community commitment to using contemplative practices and social engagement to deeply understand how each of us is impacted by social inequities and systemic oppression, to build capacity to hold space for individual and collective vulnerability and suffering, and to foster authenticity, compassion, and wisdom for courageous conversation and healing.
Here are a few of our current initiatives:
- The “Radical Compassion Project at Nalanda Institute” group on Facebook. This is a “private” safe space for all to explore, openly investigate, quietly observe, and engage in shared dialogue. It serves as a kind of ‘think tank’ in which we can process what it means to be following the contemplative path, investigating our internal and embodied experiences of intersectional identity, while remaining committed to social engagement and working to alleviate forms of inner and outer suffering that manifest through systemic racism.
- We meet in person in dialog and friendship to explore vital topics of engagement. Books we have read and are reading include: Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah, PhD; Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community by Larry Yang; and Mindful of Race by Ruth King.
- People of Color, White Affinity, and LGBTQ+ Affinity Groups meet monthly to provide support, deepen understanding, and embody the vital work of each group. For the BIPOC group, contact email@example.com; for the WAG contact firstname.lastname@example.org; and for the LGBTQ+ contact email@example.com
- “Contemplative Practice as Social Practice Panel and Dialogue,” held yearly as well as bringing special guest teachers to our community to inspire learning and growth.
- Cultural Competence Workshops held each year to help our community grow in understanding of empathy and holding space that is both brave and safe.
- A weekly “Somatic Social Practice” Lunchtime Meditation for those concerned with issues surrounding social justice. Currently online only, Mondays, 1:00–1:45 pm. View details in our Calendar.
- Peer Ombuds. The peer ombuds is an informal, neutral, independent, and in most cases, confidential resource for new and continuing Nalanda Institute students to raise questions or concerns about any aspect of their training experiences. The peer ombuds serves as a sounding board who also connects students to resources within the program and within the institute. Click here to read more about the Peer Ombuds role and how to contact the Peer Ombuds (pdf).
- Community Agreements help us provide a foundation and boundaries for creating a safe and brave culture that allows us to share meaningful and generative space together. These encourage us to care for ourselves while holding space for others. While this list is not exhaustive, it’s a place from which we can challenge ourselves and each other while still recognizing that we’re all coming from different places of knowing and transforming. View the agreements (pdf).
Radical Compassion Facilitators: Chantelle Brown, LMSW; Doris Chang, PhD; Pilar Jennings, PhD; Geri Loizzo; Ali Power, LMSW, MFA; and Kristen Rae Stevens, BFA, AyP, E-Ryt 500