In spiritual circles, one often hears people say that they don’t see color or gender, but this ignores what many of us in marginalized communities face in each present moment of our lives. Larry Yang, a queer, gay man, Asian-American teacher of Buddhism, says “The path toward freedom does not go around the experience of identity or transcend it but goes through the experience of identity—however identity manifests for us.” Host Marlena Willis is in conversation with Larry Yang, whose book, Awakening Together, The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community, has recently been released.
Larry Yang teaches mindfulness and loving kindness retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse multicultural communities. Larry has practiced meditation for 30 years, and spent 6 months as a Buddhist monastic. Larry is on the Teachers Council of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and is one of the founding teachers of East Bay Meditation Center. Larry was honored for his work in racial justice as the community’s choice for Grand Marshal in the 2016 San Francisco LGBTIQ Pride Parade, themed “For Racial and Economic Justice.” For 10 years he was part of the coordinating team developing Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leadership Program, and is a core trainer for the Spirit Rock Dharma Teacher Training Program, creating leadership from multicultural communities as fully empowered Dharma teachers. He is the author of Awakening Together: the Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community.