“Awakening Together combines the intimately personal, the Buddhist and universal into a loving, courageous, important work that will benefit all who read it. For anyone who longs to collaborate and create a just and inclusive community, Larry provides a brilliant guidebook.” —Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart
How can we connect our personal spiritual journeys with the larger course of our shared human experience? How do we compassionately and wisely navigate belonging and exclusion in our own hearts? And how can we embrace diverse identities and experiences within our spiritual communities, building sanghas that make good on the promise of liberation for everyone?
If you aren’t sure how to start this work, Awakening Together is for you. If you’ve begun but aren’t sure what the next steps are, this book is for you. If you’re already engaged in this work, this book will remind you none of us do this work alone. Whether you find yourself at the center or at the margins of your community, whether you’re a community member or a community leader, this book is for you.
About the Author
Larry Yang teaches meditation retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse multicultural communities. Larry has practiced extensively in Burma and Thailand, with a six month period of ordination as a Buddhist monk under the guidance of meditation master Ajahn Tong. Larry is one of the core teachers and leaders of the East Bay Meditation Center and is on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council. He is one of the coordinating teachers of the Spirit Rock Teacher Training program and their Community Dharma Leader program. He lives in San Francisco.
Jan Willis is the author of Dreaming of Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist—One Woman’s Spiritual Journey. She teaches at Wesleyan University, and lives in Connecticut.
Sylvia Boorstein is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and is the author of It’s Easier than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness, as well as several other books
“I don’t see how Awakening Together could be better. It is so wise, thoughtful, dedicated to our healthful growth, ease, and enlightenment through the Dharma that I know I will be reading it for years to come. Larry Yang seems to have thought of everything we will need as we venture bravely forward—through racism, prejudice, and ignorance—into the free spiritual beings we were meant to be. Together.” — Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple
“Larry Yang’s voice, heart, and insight in Awakening Together can be both trusted and radically illuminating. We do indeed need each other for any of us to awaken to our true nature as human beings. Mindfulness practice has to be about inclusivity and diversity and justice if it is to be kind and compassionate and wise. If we truly “inter-are” as Thich Nhat Hanh asserts, then, as this book shows, we have to widen our scope of what is worthy of our attention. Parts of this book may make some people in the greater mindfulness community uncomfortable. It certainly was true in my case. That is precisely why it is particularly valuable to read and reflect upon and learn from. We need trusted others to show us our blind spots, our tacit assumptions, and our ignorance. I highly recommend this elegant, highly personal, and hopefully profoundly influential book.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living
“What a gift Awakening Together (a timely and essential offering) gives, to learn how, through the lessons of past experience and the lens of future needs, we can build sanghas that represent the illuminating and joyous presence that true diversity brings.” — Gina Sharpe, Co-Founder, New York Insight Meditation Center
“Awakening Together combines the intimately personal, the Buddhist and universal into a loving, courageous, important work that will benefit all who read it. For anyone who longs to collaborate and create a just and inclusive community, Larry provides a brilliant guidebook.” — Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart
“Awakening Together is essential reading as we seek to heal our own hearts, our communities and our world.” — Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“Awakening Together is filled with love. Larry Yang plants your feet, offers his hand, and without hesitation opens our eyes. His teachings on creating and sustaining communities that welcome the full range of our life experiences, are clear and poignant. He skillfully walks us into a vision of an inclusive spiritual home in which we can unfold and reveal our true selves. As a seasoned, and well-loved dharma teacher, his long-awaited gift satisfies the soul that yearns to be seen. Deep bows, beloved friend, for this offering.” — Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author of The Way of Tenderness
“In Awakening Together, Larry Yang shares an in-depth personal journey and his professional experience of wise and actionable guidance for building inclusive Buddhist communities. A must read for anyone interested in understanding the integrities of belonging.” — Ruth King, dharma teacher, life coach, and author of Healing and Mindful of Race
“This book is essential reading for anyone interested in building and sustaining a diverse, inclusive, empowered, wise and compassionate community.” — Kittisaro and Thanissara, authors of Listening to the Heart
“This book is a real treasure, and a map to great awakenings in our worldwide sangha.” — Myokei Caine Barrett, Shonin, resident priest of Myoken Temple in Houston
“For the first time—a Dharma book that is a roadmap showing collective pathways out of social suffering. In a voice both passionate and wise, Larry Yang guides us to co-create spiritual communities that embrace the pain of oppression and inequity as integral to the ground of compassion and liberatory spiritual practice.” — Mushim Patricia Ikeda, Buddhist teacher, author, and activist
“Larry Yang’s Awakening Together seamlessly blends the personal with the political. He helps us to see that waking up in all forms is an essential spiritual practice—and that nothing is excluded, including the thorny areas of race, culture, and identity. Larry is a thought leader in this work and his compassionate insight shines through as a guide to us all. This book is a game-changer.” — Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and co-author of Fully Present
“A marvelous book, unstoppable in its promise. The integrity and timeliness of Larry Yang’s teaching has the power of an incoming tide.” — Joanna Macy, author of Coming Back to Life
“The compassionate, thoughtful, and inclusive teachings in Awakening Together provide guidance for communities seeking to be more diverse, as well as for individuals seeking diverse spaces in which to practice.” — Foreword Reviews
"Awakening Together is the best book ever written on Buddhist inclusivity, both racially and sexually.” — The Bay Area Reporter