Assaya: resting place, shelter, refuge, seat.
To be a cooperatively supported spiritual home aspiring to uplift self-identified women in their spiritual development along the Buddhist path. We provide Dharma teachings, practice opportunities, and space for the growth of sangha that honors the diversity and value of the female awakening experience in the Vipassana lineage. We do this work in concert with our friends and partners across all gender identities, towards mutually inspiring, empowering, and benevolent community.
If love is there in the community, if we've been nourished by the harmony in the community, then we will never move away from love.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
We value practicing and awakening together in Dharma community: supporting life changes and challenges, celebrating our wholeness, challenging our blind spots, and uplifting each other to reach our spiritual potential.
We value sangha as a refuge: providing a safe, welcoming, inclusive, inspiring, nurturing, and empowering spiritual home for women*.
We value multiple approaches to practice: offering embodied, integrated, creative, communal, and formal practice.
We value the self-identified female awakening experience: acknowledging the under-representation of women’s stories in Buddhism, we witness and honor self-identified women in their awakening.
We value inclusivity and diversity: building equity into the fabric of our community, we are unraveling internalized sexism, racism, gender identity exclusion, and unrecognized advantage as part of our awakening process. We have diverse leadership and foster ongoing attunement to the needs of our members.
We value benevolent community: learning to respond empathetically to each other’s joys and sorrows, we integrate heart and wisdom practices and encourage compassionate action in our greater community.
Assaya Sangha started as a conversation between five women who wanted to know what a Dharma community might look like if it was envisioned and run by women for women? This group of five founding mothers started meeting monthly to imagine such a community. We discussed what we have learned from other Dharma groups, why practicing with other women is important, and how to re-envision models within current Insight Dharma Communities to support a wide diversity of women practitioners and teachers. We explored a larger goal to bring forward a new Dharma community model that would support the spiritual growth of all peoples, regardless of gender. After a year of these meetings, Assaya Sangha was born.
The five Founding Mothers of Assaya Sangha are, Kate Munding, Natalie Brain, Shakthi Ganeshan, Deborah Todd, and Betsy Rose