« Menu

Commitment to Diversity

What we're doing
Vision statement

A multicultural refuge

Vision statement

This statement articulates IMS’s vision for a more diverse sangha of retreatants, teachers, staff and friends.

"In offering a spiritual refuge for awakening, IMS is committed to cultivating a community that reflects the diversity of our society and our world. We believe that all members benefit from diversity, as a wide range of human experiences and viewpoints broadens and enriches the understanding of all. We seek to promote the inclusion and participation of people of diverse identities, including those of all races, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, gender identities, classes, religions, abilities, and ages, that all may feel welcome, safe and respected within this community."

A multicultural refuge

When the Buddha awakened, he decided to teach out of compassion for the suffering of all beings. IMS is rooted in this same aspiration – our mission states that we are “a spiritual refuge for all who seek freedom of mind and heart.”

But it became increasingly clear over the decades that, in terms of racial diversity, people of color were largely absent from our sangha of retreatants, teachers, staff, Board members and volunteers. Were people of color not interested in the Buddha’s teachings? Based on the strong attendance at our annual People of Color Retreats for the last 10 years, enthusiasm for the dharma is clearly evident.

So why this absence? IMS began a quest a few years ago to better understand contributing factors and to fully address them. We are clear that, if people of color feel IMS is just like many other predominantly white institutions in the country, then it cannot be a true spiritual refuge. In that case, we would be failing in our mission.

This possibility is simply unacceptable. Our aspiration is to ensure more places at the table for people of color – in our halls, on our teaching faculty and board, and among our staff and volunteers. It is vital that these voices be included in shaping IMS’s culture and future, so that this refuge continues to be vibrant for generations to come in this increasingly multicultural nation and world.

We know that this undertaking will take time and persistent effort. IMS is committed to staying the course.

Share this