Diversity, Inclusion and Equality

Members of the Awakened Heart Sangha recently formed its first Diversity, Inclusion and Equality group.

Wed 18 May 2022

Members of the Awakened Heart Sangha recently formed its first Diversity, Inclusion and Equality group. The group’s vision is to help the Sangha become a truly diverse and inclusive space where all members irrespective of their age, gender identity, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, economic background, race, sensory needs and physical or mental ability feel welcome. We hope to do this by (1) providing information and resources on diversity and inclusion topics and; (2) establishing a safe space for non-judgemental peer support to sangha members on issues of diversity, inclusion and equity.

The group is comprised of approximately 20 members who meet periodically throughout the year to discuss the group’s activities. The wider group’s direction is shaped and supported by a small working group who meet regularly.

The group seeks to explore topics of diversity, inclusion and equity through a Dharmic lens. Our approach is informed by the teachings given in the Discovering the Heart of Buddhism and Trusting the Heart of Buddhism courses.

We believe that exploring diversity and inclusion through the Dharma can help us to fulfil our Bodhisattva commitment to benefit all beings. One way of doing this is to increase our awareness of the diverse ways people live and experience our world. This helps us to become more open to the experiences of others and more compassionate towards their particular circumstances. When we extend our hearts out to others in this way, we can respond to their needs with greater sensitivity and clarity.

“I welcome the initiative of the members of the Diversity Group in setting it up as a means of carrying out their Bodhisattva commitment to benefit all beings. Over the course of my lifetime social attitudes have changed radically as more and more individuals find their voice and reveal their differences that call into question so many traditional attitudes, including Buddhist ones. It is important that we all become aware of the unsuspected impact our attitudes and words could have on others – undermining their confidence and sense of being welcome into a sangha focused on the path to Awakening for all beings.” Lama Shenpen

“I am delighted to see the AHS Diversity, Inclusion and Equality group taking shape and am grateful to Namka, Ktso, Nyma Dondrub and Delam for their generosity in offering their time and experience to help coordinate it. Namka and I set the ball rolling on this initiative within the sangha a few years ago with the wish to open up conversations and deepen our understanding thereby enabling us to acknowledge, honour and celebrate our distinctiveness as individuals as we co-create a welcoming community for all.” Lama Tara

Members of the working group are keen to support all members of the Sangha with any issues, if you would like to speak to someone one on one the following people are available:

Nyima Dondrub Mohamed (They/Them)

Hello, I’ve been a member of the Sangha for around 2 years and am a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equality Working Group. Outside of the Sangha I’ve worked on various initiatives to support people of colour and those from the LGBTQ+ communities. I have also trained as a Mental Health First Aider and am happy to support anyone with their journey in the Sangha. I can be contacted via email  nepbsulcngvn@tznvy.pbzmoc.liamg@aitapyhfocra

Delam (he/him)

I am the “neurodivergent” member of the Diversity group. Two years ago I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (at the ripe old age of 55!) and suddenly my life is starting to make some sense. I am a counsellor by profession and I am a mentor in the Sangha. I would really love to get to know any other neurodivergent members so please feel free to email me at:  qrynz@mnatcb.hxku.opgnaz@maled

K-Tso (she/they)

I live and work at the Hermitage and have been a member of the sangha for a few years now. Before moving to the UK I lived at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada and prior to that was quite active in the Toronto Shambhala community. I identify as queer and non-binary and am passionate about, and committed to a lifelong journey of working with my mind and heart learning/unlearning through a dharmic and social justice lens. Sangha life is incredibly important to me and I’m always happy to make connections with folks.  Xgfb@nuf.bet.hxku.gro.sha@ostK

Namka (she/they)

I’ve been a member of the Sangha for 9 years now and am a mentor. In my community in Brighton, I help run an LGBTQ+ meditation group, and teach Mindfulness for an LGBTQ+ mental health project. I have also trained as a Mental Health Peer Support worker. As part of the Diversity Group, I am happy that we are promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion issues in our Sangha, and are here to lend support to all. I am currently the contact person for the Diversity Group, and my email is  anzxn.alvzn@tznvy.pbzmoc.liamg@amiyn.akman