Audio Teachings and Resources
How do we began to make sense of the hurt we experience when our teachers cross boundaries? How do we hold our belief in the teacher's realization in dialogue with the reality of the humanity of the teacher? In this talk first offered in April of 2017, I speak of my relationship to my teachers and how I have attempted to make sense of realization and ignorance and the development of wisdom in the face of this duality.
Continuing where I left off in part 1, I explore some textual resources connected to how the teacher is traditionally understood. I also share some of my personal experiences with my teachers.
The Satipatthana is the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness offered by the Buddha, which established the practice of contemporary mindfulness. Sati can be translated as remembering. The practice of queer divinity is about remembering our ourselves including our bodies, our sexuality, our gender identification, our history, traumas, lovers, and all the ways we use our bodies to engage in pleasure. It is also remembering our ancestors. It is evoking the ancestral presence of transgender women of color at the Stonewall Inn who initiated the modern gay rights movement. It is remembering all of our would-be elders who lost their lives to the AIDS Epidemic. It is remembering the countless people who never had a chance to live out their deepest wishes to be loved and love in the way they choose. It is remembering that heaven and enlightenment can be experienced on earth in this body. In the talk offered at the 2017 Wild Goose Festival, I explored my relationship to the queer divine through the dual lenses of dharma and theology.
PRAYER, GRIEF, AND ACTIVISM
So many of us are grieving and in deep mourning for the suffering that we are perceiving in the world as well in our own situations. We do not live in a society that is comfortable with our open grieving, which includes our tears and the very messy ways that grieving takes us. Community based grieving is healing and transformative. When we combine community grieving with community prayer, then we are able to better transform our grief into wisdom and joy. This community dharma talk offered to the Radical Dharma Boston Collective explores the practices of prayer, community grieving and open awareness meditation in dialogue with our work as activists.
THE SUFFERING OF BEING MEAN
There is so much meanness happening. This meanness doesn’t spring from people’s overt wish to harm others, but it can be traced back to the struggle many of us face in dealing with our own suffering. Without awareness and compassion, our attempts to work with our own basic discomfort will be messy and unskillful. The work to love and care for ourselves will give permission for others to do the same work for themselves.
HOME, LOVE, AND THE IDEA OF ANCESTRY
When the Buddha offered the first Noble Truth, he articulated the most inescapable aspect of our existence as human beings, which was that discomfort is a basic part of our experience. It is only by accepting this reality can we begin the work of liberation from the causes and conditions of suffering. Yet there are many methods to accomplish this goal. Some of these methods are related to our relative identity locations. This dharma talk explores our relationship to home and the the experience of home in our bodies, its dependence on love, as well how this could be related to ancestor practice.
BROKEN HEARTS AND NOBLE TRUTHS: REFLECTING ON THE ELECTION, OCCUPATION, AND RESILIENCY
The 4 Noble Truths were the first teachings offered by the Buddha to explain the presence of suffering, its root cause, and a proclamation of a methodology of liberation. In this talk for the Love Circle Sangha, Lama Rod explores the wisdom of the 4 Noble Truths as a road map to make sense of the recent election, the coming of intensified hate and disunity as well as tool for active resiliency grounded in radical presence or authentic vulnerability.
TALKING AND PRACTICING BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY AND RADICAL DHARMA
Whether we are talking Black Liberation Theology or Radical Dharma, we are talking about socially liberating beliefs and practices that privilege a development of fundamental love for what we have been taught is unlovable. In this talk at the Open Church of Maryland, Lama Rod explores the profound and revolutionary practices of love as a tool for marginalized people to achieve both social and spiritual liberation that is rooted in the liberatory theology and dharma traditions.
REMEMBERING THE QUEER DIVINE- HARVARD MEMORIAL CHURCH
What does the Queer Divine look like? How is it expressed? How is it experienced? In what ways is it revolutionary? In this sermon/talk at Harvard University's Memorial Church, Lama Rod explores the Queer Divine through Queer Theology and Queer Dharma.
PRACTICING MEDICINE BUDDHA IN TIMES OF VIOLENCE
Medicine Buddha attained enlightenment through the development and maturation of an ethic of healing that addressed the totality of relative suffering of all beings from sickness to political and social oppression. But how can we use this profound wisdom found in Medicine Buddha’s mythology to address the oppression and violence many of us experience today?
WE ARE THE VIOLENT ONES
We talk about how violent the world is becoming but how do we relate to violence that we see and experience around us? What about the violence that expresses itself in our experience? How can we use the tools and strategies of Buddhadharma to examine the ways we create harm for ourselves and others.
COMING OUT, VIOLENCE, AND THE PROBLEM OF SAMSARA
How do we continue to work with the truth of interdependence or interrelatedness as we confront daily acts of violence? How do we continue to see dharma as a strategy of truth telling, vulnerability, and transparency? How do we find refuge in sacred spaces that are all too often violated? These are a few of the questions explored in this dharma talk.
EMBRACING THE SEXUAL DIVINE: LIBERATING OURSELVES FROM SEX AND BODY SHAME
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of spiritual practice is the embracing of our sexuality and sexual expressions. Many of us have deeply internalized shame of our sexual selves. So much of our sexual selves is connected to the physical body. What we discover is a poignant fear of our own bodies as vessels of our sexual expression. How do we interrogate this shame through practices of mindfulness, lovingkindness, and self-compassion? Yet beyond that, how can we practice wisdom and make intelligent choices to enjoy our bodies and the bodies of others in ways that do not reproduce psychic harm for ourselves or others? Being “Spiritual” does not mean we give up sex or cruising our favorite apps like Tinder or Grindr. Nor do we have to depart from communities of transgressive sexual practices that for many of us have been liberating. What being a spiritual person means is that our choices and practices are rooted in love and compassion. This is an open, frank, and hopefully shame-free exploration of exploring the sexual divine.
INTRODUCTION TO TONGLEN: TAKING AND SENDING FOR SELF
Tonglen means taking and sending. It is a profound practice that helps dissolve the barriers that separate ourselves from others. It is a practice that helps us to hold the space for the suffering we encounter in our experiences as well as the experiences of others.
HEALING THROUGH THE DHARMA: PARTS 1 & 2
We often struggle to work with the trauma that is so present in our lives. We are bombarded and overwhelmed with a world that seems to be falling part. We are confronted with the concerns about our natural environment as well as social problems such as racism, poverty, war, violence, and a host of other things. We are left with a trauma that is unexamined and which affects the quality of our lives and our interpersonal interactions. How do we begin to work with this kind of trauma in our personal experience and within our sanghas with the help of our dharma practice? How can we cultivate the space, willingness, and courage to authentically show up with our woundedness within a safe space in order to heal? These are the questions explored in this dharma teaching.
We live in difficult times. War and violence, racism and hatred, and socioeconomic and environmental concerns have left many of us fatigued and fearful. What practices and strategies can we summon from the dharma to aid us in facing the chaos of the world? In this series of talks, Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Rod Owens draws on the Buddhist teachings to help us enact an ethic of healing, especially as activists or allies of such movements as Black Lives Matter or gay marriage, so that we can live boldly instead of lashing out or shutting down. Click to watch!
Join Susan Piver and Lama Rod as they explore the practice of resilience and love in the context of interpersonal relationships and politics.
Creativity isn’t confined to just our heads. For Lama Rod Owens, body concentration is a prompt that helps him write poetry and tap into instinct. “One of the things that really motivates me as an artist, as a poet, is this challenge and struggle to bring awareness to things that are so often considered ordinary or underwhelming,” Owens says in the video. “I think it is my personal effort to make the world more relevant . . . my poetry is an extension of that work.” Click here to watch!
Join Cafe con Cass host Cassandra and Lama Rod Owens as they talk about emotions, liberating ourselves and our communities while staying mindful and realistic about impact and accountability in healing work.
Join Lama Rod and Cafe host Cassandra as they explore trauma, activism, and the emergence of Radical Dharma.
LAMA ROD & REV. ANGEL IN DIALOGUE
Lama Rod Owens and angel Kyodo williams discuss the challenges of being teachers of color in predominantly white communities. Read their conversation in the Winter 2014 issue of Buddhadharma.
Lama Rod Owens joins us to speak about his new book Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation.
In this episode we cover Lama Rod’s journey into Tibetan Buddhism, issues of race in American Buddhism, sexuality, his contemplative practice and his thoughts on sex education.
On this weeks episode of Multifaithful, Reka talks to Lama Rod Owens, renowned Dharma teacher and activist based in Boston. We discuss how mindfulness has inspired his involvement in various activist causes and how it can pave the way for a different kind of liberation.
HBC BUDDHISM AND RACE CONFERENCE: WELCOME PANEL
The Buddhism and Race Conference organized by Harvard Buddhist Community at Harvard Divinity School addresses issues surrounding race and racism within the Buddhist community. Activists, sangha leaders, community members, and students join together to learn from one another and share justice-oriented teachings and training.
BUDDHISM & RACE IN AMERICA AT HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL
How do issues of race impact Buddhist communities? What can Buddhist communities do to address these issues in their own settings? During the HBC Conference on Buddhism and Race in America, panelists Harrison Blum, Bryan Mendiola, Lama Rod Owens, and Roshi Sings-Alone explore these questions in a conversation moderated by Christopher Raiche.