Online Class Series

The Dharma of James Baldwin and Audre Lorde

In this course, we will approach Black, queer writers James Baldwin and Audre Lorde as ancestors who offered an embodied dharma of resilience, fortitude, presence, and joy in a cultural context that was racist, patriarchal, and homophobic. This class is structured around the Buddhist teaching of the “Three Marks of Existence”: suffering (dukkha), impermanence (anicca), and non-self (anatta). As we deconstruct these teachings through the lens of Baldwin and Lorde, we will focus especially on the importance of recognizing causes and conditions, particularly with regard to intergenerational trauma; the fact of death; and the “Three Poisons”—greed, hatred, and delusion. We will also discuss the importance of honoring anger, deconstructing the delusion of white supremacy, and the necessity of attending to race, gender, and sexuality in Buddhist contexts.

Teaching Team

Rima Vesely-Flad, PhD

Rima Vesely-Flad, PhD

Teacher

Dr. Rima Vesely-Flad is the author of Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation (NYU Press, 2022). She is a 2024 fellow of the Crossroads Project at Princeton University.

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