Queer Dharma Circle

Excited! Dear Friends, we are about to launch the Queer Dharma Circle for Buddhist Radical Faeries.

A gay friend of mine owns a five-acre farm in central Massachusetts. Together we have a vision for the farm that it becomes a queer dharma refuge, a spiritual sanctuary for queers in this very dark time. We share a vision for holding a monthly queer dharma circle to provide support, healing and strength for queer resistance. We want to create a circle that embodies the community we most long for, a community of love, friendship, mutual support, openness, freedom of expression, wisdom and compassion. So here are some initial ideas:

Guides for Spiritual Life at Queer Dharma Circle

Ground Rules for Queer Dharma Circle

Abstinence from intoxicating drugs and alcohol.
No intoxicating drugs or alcohol may be brought in, used or shared by Circle participants on the premises of the Farm, whether legal or illegal. We ask that Circle participants practice abstinence from intoxicating drugs and alcohol for the duration of their stay on the grounds of the Farm, whether or not they are normally abstinent in their personal lives.

Safe, sane and consensual are the basic ground rules for expression of one’s sexuality in the context of the Circle.

Respect for diverse identities and spiritualities in the Circle: Queer Dharma Circle strives to create a refuge that is both a safe and a courageous space for honest communication.

Guides for Practice in the Circle

Jouissance and Lila
Jouissance (per Lacan) is an exuberance of life; an enjoyment of life beyond the pleasure principle. Queer jouissance, as a spiritual principle, is an exuberance of queer embodiment and culture, an enjoyment of queer expression beyond the pleasure principle towards spiritual empowerment.

Lila is Creative Play; Lila is a way of describing all reality, the cosmos, as the outcome of creative play. (see Sri Aurobindo: The Synthesis of Yoga).

Liberation: compassion, non-judgement and mutual acceptance.

Practices: All practices integrate connection with the natural beauty of the Farm and surrounding environs.
Heart Sharing
Music & Chant

Queer Dharma Circle Organizatoinal Form:

Encuentro: A New Model of Sangha

It’s time for a new model of sangha: the encuentro. Taken from the autonomist and horizontalist movements found in the Zapatista, Argentine, Occupy and Indignados movements, the encuentro is a form of self-organized community. There are no leaders, no teachers, no organizers, no priests, monks, lamas or gurus. It’s a peer-organized group that decides what they will discuss and how they will carry out their own agenda. I pioneered this style of dharma organization with Meta Buddhist Inquiry, also known as XPostNon. We have been meeting for over a year in a small group, bringing forward our deepest concerns, fears, hopes and joys, discussing all our doubts, objections, questions and aspirations regrading dharma and practice. There is no lineage, no specified practice. There is only an open question: what concerns us about the dharma? 

Marina Sitrin, author of Everyday Revolutions, defines encuentro as  “a reflection: reflecting on what we’ve experienced, what we learned; creating new theory about what we experienced.” She defines it further in Occupying Language, her primer on the ideology of the horizontalist movements of Latin America and the Occupy movement:

Encuentro means a coming together, generally with horizontal relational forms, but unlike an assembly, an encuentro does not need to have the desired end of a discussion or consensus; it is the gathering, the process, that is the goal. The reason for the encuentro is the coming together. . . The Zapatista concept of “un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos (one world in which many words fit) has also been brought into the meaning of encuentro, so that rather than being thought of as a place to make a single, unifying program, a gathering is instead a place where all can come together with all of our differences and diversity. (Sitrin: Occupying Language).

I am not a dharma teacher. I am a dharma scholar. A scholar is someone who studies and learns, and who shares what s/he learns with other peer scholars. So what I would like to offer to is is facilitate Queer Dharma Circle as an encuentro. You’re all invited to join the revolution.