Barre Center for Buddhist Studies

149 Lockwood Road
Barre, MA 01005
Website: buddhistinquiry.org

Description of Organization:

The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies was founded by Sharon Saltzberg and Joseph Goldstein. For more than 30 years it has offered programs that integrate the study and practice of Buddhism with teachers from multiple Buddhist traditions. Residential and online courses combining study, discussion, and meditation for connecting sangha, supporting curiosity, and expanding and deepening personal practice are offered. In addition to programs engaging classical Buddhist tradition, offered programs engage contemporary issues such as climate and social justice as well as programs that explore the dharma and psychology, art, education, and more.

Grant(s) Awarded

In 2024, a Women in Buddhism grant of $15,000 was awarded to hire a professional website designer for the “Women in the Buddha’s Life” project.

The website of “Women in the Buddha’s Life” project has two distinct but equally important purposes. The first purpose of the website of “Women in the Buddha’s Life” project is to make available Buddhist stories about women who were part of the Buddha’s life (his birth mother, his adoptive mother, his wife, as well as many others). These stories have been gathered from traditions across the Buddhist world and they come from different time periods; some are familiar, others are little known, and still others largely ignored or forgotten today. One of the purposes of the “Women in the Buddha’s Life” project has been to collect these stories in one place, and thus to create generative conditions for intertextual engagements with the stories, conditions in which each story illuminates the others and is illuminated by them. Presenting these stories together on one website will also make it possible for site users to explore and illuminate patterns emerging among the stories as well as possible connections between them.

The second purpose of the website of “Women in the Buddha’s Life” project is to make available a range of innovative reading practices which have been designed especially to help the readers of the website’s stories to discover new angles of vision on the stories for themselves. This includes group gatherings and individual practices. Experiences in these group gatherings and feedback from participants have helped us to see how engaging the stories with these practices can reveal and illuminate new or hidden facets of Buddhist teachings. They can also allow users of the website to discover new sources of inspiration for their personal practices and for their own lives in the stories.

The website will also include background information about the sources of the stories, such as identifying the Buddhist texts from which they were drawn and also the historical contexts of their origin and transmission.

In 2022, a grant in the amount of $14,500 was awarded to support “Radical Refuge: An Annual Buddhist Writing Retreat.” The retreat will bring together a diverse group of Buddhist writers at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS) on a yearly basis for a four-night, five-day retreat focused on shared spiritual practice, individual and group writing, and community dialogue. This project emerged from conversations between Chenxing Han and Dr. Rima Vesely-Flad while preparing for the “BIPOC Wisdom and Skillful Means” panel at the June 2022 “Future of American Buddhism” conference hosted by Naropa University and the Lenz Foundation at the Garrison Institute. At Garrison, the two discussed their long-standing hope to see more connection and between Black and Asian American Buddhists. The inaugural year-longprogram will focus on Asian American Buddhist writers in order to strengthen relationships within this community and lay the groundwork for a Black and Asian Buddhist writing retreat in the summer of 2024. This 2024 retreat will draw on the lessons learned from the previous year’s retreat and will be co-led by a Black Buddhist and an Asian American Buddhist and will aim for a balanced number of Black and Asian participants.