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About Dharma Teacher Gathering

Conference History

The series of International Buddhist Teachers Gatherings began in 1993. Over the years, the gatherings have provided an environment in which America, European, Asian and other teachers have come together to share perspectives, address differences in the Buddhist community, and create relationships that have challenged historical schisms within and between the different schools and lineages.

Another stated goal has been to bring Buddhism in the West into the 20th, and now into the 21st century. This includes questioning and updating patriarchal and medieval tendencies in Dharma communities. In the past 20 years conversations among dharma teachers working in the West have helped bring about more democratic process, more awareness and appreciation of women teachers, and more integrative practice to traditional Buddhism.

The gathering has grown from a small gathering of 22 teachers to an invitation list of over 600 for the 2015 conference at Omega Institute, New York with over 200 teachers in attendance. Even with the greatly expanded invitation list, continuous efforts are made to improve and expand outreach. These efforts reflect the growing diversity of dharma teachers, teaching approaches, students and Sanghas. As just a few examples of questions: how could the gathering be inclusive of more cultural diversity, teachers from and working with groups historically marginalized in mainstream Western society (ethnic minorities; socio-economically depressed; lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer), Asian immigrant Buddhist groups and churches, those teaching in new forms (such as primarily via the internet), and increasing the relatively low proportions of teachers in attendance with monastic and deep retreat experience.

The 2021 International Western Dharma Teacher Gathering represents the 4th large international gathering of this kind.

Who is the Steering Committee

Initially, the gathering was organized by many “pioneering” and well known teachers who played an important role in establishing Dharma in the West and who had personal friendships with each other. Since 2011, the gathering is organized by an independent Steering Committee of volunteers, and those encouraged by previous committee members to consider volunteering, in an effort to create a well rounded and diverse group composition. If you are interested in serving on a future Steering Committee or volunteer some of your time for the 2021 International Dharma Teacher Gathering. please email us at dharmateachergathering/@/

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