The Buddhist Teachings and Issues of Cultural Spiritual Bypassing

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New York Insight Meditation Center
28 West 27th St.,10th Fl.


Date(s) - 07/07/2018
10:00 am - 5:00 pm




New York Insight Meditation Center
28 West 27th St.,10th Fl.

Event Details

The Buddhist Teachings and Issues of Cultural Spiritual Bypassing

with Sebene Selassie and Brian Lesage

Saturday July 7, 2018 | 10am – 5:00pm

Spiritual bypassing is described by John Welwood as using spiritual practice to avoid addressing psychological wounds and unresolved personal issues. This is usually addressed only on the individual level, yet a spiritual practice can be used to avoid or “bypass” unresolved cultural issues as well, which we are calling cultural spiritual bypassing. In this daylong we will explore some commonly bypassed issues such as racism, social justice, and identity politics.

We will be exploring what it means to be a cultural being among other cultural beings, including looking at how cultural spiritual bypassing manifests both collectively and individually, particularly within spiritual communities. This exploration will be situated in the context of how the Buddha of early Buddhism addressed cultural forms of oppression in teachings on ethics, view, intention, and the five aggregates.

This daylong will include lecture, images, reflection, discussion and meditation practice. All are welcome and encouraged to attend the Friday evening program which will introduce this exploration.

Meeting Times:
Saturday, July 7: 10am-5pm

Registration Fee

Teacher Support/Dana
The suggested donation is $45. Whatever you offer is greatly appreciated.

(*) The NYI Scholarship Fund allows NYI to offer scholarships to those who may not be able to afford registration costs. New York Insight is committed to ensuring that our Dharma offerings are available to all, regardless of ability to pay. To apply, click here.


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Sebene Selassie

Sebene Selassie Sebene Selassie is a dharma teacher and transformational coach. She began studying Buddhism over 25 years ago at McGill University where she received a BA in Comparative Religious Studies and Women’s Studies. She has an MA from the New School where she focused on cultural and race studies. ​ Sebene is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader (CDL4) program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. ​​She is the former Executive Director of New York Insight and serves on the board of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. She continues training with her primary teachers, Thanissara and Kittisaro and serves on the Leadership Council for their Sacred Mountain Sangha. ​​Sebene is a three–time cancer survivor.

Brian Lesage

Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000.  He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma.  You can also visit his website for Somatic Experiencing at: