Triratna News

Form and emptiness: Triratna Stockholm holds first LGBTQ retreat

On Sat, 13 June, 2015 - 19:02
Munisha's picture

Vajradarshini is the new Chair of Triratna’s Stockholm Buddhist Centre. 

She writes: “Last month the Stockholm sangha held its first LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning; known in Swedish as HBTQ) retreat, hoisting a rainbow flag at Dharmagiri, our retreat centre north of Stockholm. (Domestic flagpoles are standard in Sweden, flying a penant in the national colours of blue and yellow.) Fifteen Order members, mitras and friends gathered from Sweden, Finland and Norway to explore the way gender and sexuality affect the way we practise.

The Dharmic backbone of our retreat was an exploration of form and emptiness. In and out of meditation we reflected on just how our various identities are constructed, fabricated, ‘made up’; how, in reality, experience is far more fluid and ungraspable.

As well as reflecting on the emptiness of form we also reflected on the various forms emptiness takes; that we all exist as unique and particular beings with both the pleasures and pains of being human. As Tsongkapa explains, if we focus on form at the expense of emptiness we lose wisdom, but if we focus on emptiness and ignore form we lose compassion.

During the retreat we started a discussion on Triratna’s ‘single-sex idea’, such a big part of our Order and Movement. How does this work in a community of gay, lesbian, trans-sexual and “non-binary” people? While single-sex situations are really valued by many of us, for some it just doesn’t work to have to choose to be ‘male’ or ‘female’. Needless to say we didn’t find an answer! It was great to be in a situation where everyone’s experience was equally valued and where there was such a desire to create for one another a sangha where one could be oneself without compromise.

We are planning another retreat next autumn to take these explorations further. Please get in touch if you are interested.”

Tomorrow on Triratna News: another initiative questioning “binary identities”.

vajradarshini [at] (Contact Vajradarshini. )
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