Year of Engaged Dharma Class Site

General Class Resources

Welcome Message
Guidelines and Format for Practice Groups
Overview of Focus Area(s) & Presentation(s)

The below resources address central themes of the course, including building resilience, cultivating love, being engaged, and supporting racial justice.

Session 8 – March 18, 2018


Kristen Barker’s talk

Kristen Barker’s guided meditation

Session 7 – March 18, 2018


Session 6 – February 11, 2018



  • Reading for this month–Creating True Peace chapters 5 and 6
  • Continue daily sitting and/or walking​ practice
  • You are invited to write a few paragraphs to share in the next class reflecting on these questions:
    • What event or awareness led me to know I belonged to a racial group that did not include other people?
    • How was this identity defined in relation to other racial groups?
    • How has this identity impacted myself and others over the course of my life?
    • How does this identity impact my engaged dharma work?
  • You can also write about other identities that may be central for you, like being from the LGBTQI community, in addition to race.
  • And if you would rather not share your actual writing in next class, you can simply share what you are ready to share, and use your writing as a ​personal reflection that guides you in what you would like to share in person.
​Survey: Also  we would like to remind you to please fill out the survey by Feb 26th to give us feedback on the class. We have gotten 9 responses so far and they are hugely helpful. Thanks to everyone who responded already!

Session 5 – January 7, 2018


At-home practices: The readings for this month are Chapters 6 and 7 from Donald Rothberg’s The Engaged Spiritual Life.

Meditation: Continue daily sitting practice (30 min day in same place, same time, if possible; can start with 10 min and work up).

Engaged daily life practice: Take one activity of engaged practice each day—it might be a form of action, like calling Congress on the DACA or Children’s Health Insurance Program bill—or it might be having a difficult conversation with a friend or family member or deepening compassion in your meditation or everyday practice for someone in public life you disagree with. Try to find one thing each day that you do to express your care and concern for others or the world—even if it takes only a few minutes.

Supplementary materials: Here are links to some talks and meditations you might find useful in your practice:

February 11 class: We are very happy that Kaira Jewel’s father will be coming to talk with us about his journey as an activist in the civil rights movement—as a Christian minister and a Buddhist dharma teacher.

We would like to extend this class by half an hour—to finish at 5:30 rather than 5:00 pm—and to explore making this the practice for future classes.

We are conscious that in our wish to expand our time connecting with each other, the time available for the talk in recent classes has been cut short.  Extending the length of the class will help us address this issue—giving adequate time for the talk and sharing/connection. We will ensure that the talk takes place in the first two hours so that those who need to leave at 5 pm will not miss any of the talk.

Feedback on the program so far: With the coming (February) class we will be reaching the halfway point of the course. We want to take the opportunity to request your feedback on what is working well and what’s working less well for you in the program so far.  Please give some thought to this in the coming weeks. We will follow up with a survey/request for feedback in February.

Session 4 – December 10, 2017

Recordings of talk and guided meditation


Reminder of home practice

Readings–Creating True Peace  chapters 3 and 4

At-home practices: Continue Daily sitting practice, working up to 30 min day.

One of the home practices was to choose which wholesome seed we wanted to water in us and to do this each day in concrete ways and notice what the effect of doing this is.

Enjoy practicing walking meditation on your own (or with friends!)

Further resources

In the last class Kaira Jewel drew the diagram of mind and store consciousness–a Buddhist psychological model of the mind. And we explored the ways we can nurture wholesome seeds (or potential mind states) in us and avoid watering unwholesome ones.

In particular, Kaira Jewel spoke of the list in Buddhist psychology of the 51 kinds of seeds, which are divided into wholesome, unwholesome and indeterminate (which means it depends on the circumstances whether they are wholesome or unwholesome).

Here you will find a list which also includes additional wholesome and unwholesome mental formations added by Thich Nhat Hanh. There is lots more information in that list than what we covered in class. If you want Kaira Jewel to explain this in more detail we can speak about it next class.

Here is an audio talk (92 minutes) by Thay on right diligence if you want to explore further.

Thank you to everyone who filled out Google form on area of focus 

We have 28 responses so far.  We’d be grateful if everyone could please take time to fill out the form this week, before next class.

Here is the spreadsheet where you can read others responses and contact each other to begin working together on common projects if you would like to do so.

In the next class we will give time once again for you to connect to those you’d like to those with whom you’d like to collaborate.

[And here is the info repasted from an the email sent out prior to the 3rd class: 

Here is a survey to identify your area of interest and ask if you want to study/explore alone or in partnership with someone else. Please fill it out by Dec 1st. Thanks! The survey will also inquire into what kind of support you are seeking. For example, do you want to be connected to others exploring similar topics; do you want access to additional resources? We will capture the results of the survey into a shared document and post on the program website. You can coordinate amongst yourselves once the document is posted. For example, you can contact another individual with a similar shared focus area, and who is looking to partner.]

Next Class, Sunday January 7

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday from 3-5 pm at Lamont Dharma House (1719 Lamont Street, NW) for the fifth monthly session of the Engaged Dharma program.

The theme of this session is Wise Action—supports for bringing our practice into the world. Hugh will give the talk.

Logistics for next class:

As we will be doing outdoor walking meditation once again for the final 10 minutes of class, please dress warmly.

Remember to bring whatever you need to drink and remember there is just one bathroom available.

Session 3 – November 19, 2017

Recordings of talk and guided meditation



  • Readings–Engaged Spiritual Life  chapters 4 and 5.

  • At-home practices: Continue Daily sitting practice, working up to 30 min day.

  • Enjoy practicing walking meditation on your own (or with friends!)

Further Resources

Kaira Jewel recently watched a talk, The Messy Truth with Van Jones on what he has learned from listening deeply to Trump supporters and how those who judge them, are angry at them, or think they are voting against their own interests, can see their motivations from a different perspective.

“Civil rights activist Van Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Tough on Donald Trump but showing respect and empathy for his supporters, Jones takes aim at the failures of both parties before and after Trump’s victory.

Session 2 – October 22, 2017

Everything you need to know after Session 2

Recordings of talk and guided meditation



I’m gonna let life move me
I’m gonna let life stir me deep
I’m gonna let life wake me from an ancient sleep
I’m gonna laugh all my laughter
I’m gonna cry all my tears
I’m gonna love the rain as deeply as the sun when it clears

*Slightly modified version can be found here.


  1. Individual – Read the first two chapters of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Creating True Peace. (Homework for Sept-Oct was the first four chapters of Donald Rothberg’s An Engaged Spiritual Life.)
  2. Practice Group – Inquiries to explore during check-ins:
    1. What particular area of engaged dharma is of interest to you?