Wednesday, March 18
Boulder Shambhala Center // 1345 Spruce St.
Called “the most vocal and most intriguing African-American Buddhist in America,” by Library Journal, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei, is an author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer and founder of Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of personal transformation and justice since the publication of her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Her book was hailed as “an act of love” by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker and “a classic” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. Ordained as a Zen priest, she recently became the second black woman recognized as a teacher in her lineage.
Williams is a social visionary that sees Transformative Social Change—applying inner awareness practice to broad-based social change—as America’s next great movement. She is an early shaper and leading voice in that work and coined the name for the field. For more than fifteen years, she has deeply invested her time and energy to putting into practice her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our inner lives. She has developed comprehensive systems for illuminating both practical personal change and the profoundly liberating potential of mindfulness, yoga, and somatic practices coupled with wisdom teachings. Calling for a paradigm shift that “changes the way change is done,” Williams envisions the building of a presence-centered social justice movement as the foundation for personal freedom, a just society, and the healing of divisions of race, class, faith, and politic.
Williams’s work has been widely covered by the New York Times, Boston Globe, Ms., Essence, Buddhadharma, Village Voice, and on the Oxygen Channel. She notes, “Love and justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.”
The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism promotes the benefits of Zen Buddhism, meditation, yoga, and related Buddhist practices in a manner complementary to modern American society. Past Lenz Foundation Distinguished Lecturers at Naropa University have included Meredith Monk, Gary Snyder, Joanna Macy, Paula Green, Jan Willis, and Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara. In addition to the lecture series, the foundation also provides support for the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation Residential Fellowship for Buddhist Studies and American Culture and Values, an opportunity for faculty and other professionals planning sabbaticals to spend a semester on the Naropa University campus conducting a research, social action, or other project that relates Buddhist philosophy and practice to an aspect of American culture and values.