Socially-Engaged Mindfulness Interventions (SEMI) and the Promise of Making Refuge

July 28–30, 2017

Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages, Berkeley, California

Organizers: Ronald Purser, Edwin Ng and Zack Walsh

Participants: David Loy, Jack Petranker, Mushim Patricia Ikeda, Katie Loncke, Dawn Haney, Rhonda Magee, Funie Hsu, Beth Berila, Nathan Doshin Woods and Peter Doran

This seminar, funded by both the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism and the Mind & Life Institute Think Tank program, brings together engaged Buddhist and secular mindfulness practitioners, teachers, scholars, and activists from areas like minority rights and struggles, environmentalism and sustainability, critical pedagogy and liberal arts education.

We draw on Buddhist and feminist and posthumanist thinking for inspiration to formulate our working questions:

What is refuge?

Where or when do we encounter refuge?

Who or what creates space for refuge?

We experiment with Socially-Engaged Mindfulness Interventions (SEMI) in order to probe the limits of prevailing outlooks. How might we develop more caring ways of relating the human to the nonhuman and vulnerability to resistance in “social”, “ecological”, or other modes of engagement with the world-in- becoming? What are the dangers accompanying the pathologizing and medicalized connotations of “intervention”? What new ways of engaging with mindfulness might be discovered by investigating these questions? What is the role of mindfulness in the investigation of these questions? We perform these inquiries to resituate mindfulness as part of a larger praxis-ideal of making refuge, understood as the collective work of cultivating conditions of trust and safety necessary for living and dying well together as co-inhabitants of a precarious planet.

This is an invitation-only seminar. At the conclusion of the seminar, the public is invited to a panel discussion with our seminar leaders. To register for the public event, please click here.