Francesca Maximé – ReRooted – Ep. 53 – America’s Racial Karma with Larry Ward, Ph.D.

Larry Ward Ph.D. joins Francesca to uncover 'America's Racial Karma,' exploring the healing intersection of Buddhism and race in America.

Larry Ward Ph.D. joins Francesca to uncover ‘America’s Racial Karma,’ exploring the healing intersection of Buddhism and race in America.

Larry Ward Ph.D. is a senior teacher in Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village tradition. He brings twenty-five years of international experience in organizational change and local community renewal to his work as director of the Lotus Institute and as an advisor to the Executive Mind Leadership Institute at the Drucker School of Management. He holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Buddhism and the neuroscience of meditation, and recently released a new book, America’s Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal. Larry is a knowledgeable, charismatic and inspirational teacher, offering insights with personal stories and resounding clarity that express his dharma name, “True Great Sound.”

Buddhism & Race in America

Welcoming Buddhist teacher and author Larry Ward to the Rerooted podcast, Francesca invites him to share how the vantage point of learning and teaching Buddhism under Thich Nhat Hanh helped inform his timely new book, America’s Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal. Francesca and Larry take a close look at how our identities are constructed narratives, but still hold a strong reality in our daily lives; before diving into the historical roots of white supremacy.

“I wanted to apply what I had learned through my practice in Buddhism, as well as my scholarly work in Buddhism, to my lived experience of race in America. I wanted to invite people into a deeper look at the human psychology and nervous system interactions that create and sustain white supremacy.” – Larry Ward PhD

Explore anti-racism as a spiritual practice in this podcast focused on the spirituality of racial equality, on Ep. 21 of Sufi Heart
Colonialism & Seperation / God & Interconnection (13:18)

Speaking to the ‘othering’ inherent in colonialism, Larry explains how the idea of being a fixed separate self creates materialism, commodification, and hierarchy – seeing the world as matter, rather than one interconnected god. Uncovering the Buddhist notion of non-self—the interconnection that is the baseline love of reality—Francesca and Larry illuminate how, through spiritual practice, society can begin to heal at its root: the individual human nervous system.

“I’m hoping to contribute to understanding our nervous system well enough to understand how it’s been conditioned by white supremacy, by our own lives, by our families, by our school systems, by our work ethic, by our cultural context, so that we can have enough distance from that to look at it and decide: What do we keep of this? What do we throw away? What do we modify?” – Larry Ward PhD

For more Francesca in conversation on healing racial trauma in the mind and body, tune into, Ep. 43 of ReRooted
Poetry, Pain, & Sensitivity (37:20)

Invited by Francesca to read a deeply moving poem from his book, Larry harkens a powerful bhav (spiritual essence) in exploring the themes of race, racism, identity, impermanence, equanimity, George Floyd, love, and infinity. From this vantage, Larry and Francesca share how to hold pain when dealing with such an immense weight of suffering, by learning how to become more sensitive in your own body and within the spirit.

“Find the ground of no coming and no going. Embrace yourself. Love yourself. Lift yourself up so you can lift all the rest of us to higher ground.” – Larry Ward PhD

RamDev describes how to work with pain using embodied mindfulness, on Ep. 36 of Healing at the Edge


Image via Larry Ward on Facebook