The Festival of Radical Awakening

Ayya Yeshe who is organising this online festival asked me to share it with our friends here.

A smorgasbord of wonderful teachers and important topics with Lama Rod Owens, Bhante Sujato, Akāliko Bhikkhu, Cynthia Sciberras, Myokei Caine-Barrett, Vimalasara Mason-John, Justin Whitaker, YOKE magazine around issues of Peace, sacred activism, resiliemce, racial and gender equality and queer Dharma. Our website is a work in progress, but you can register now!

The Festival of Radical Awakening

The festival of radical awakening is an amazing intersection of social justice, contemporary issues and spirituality. To be spiritual is to see that we are all intimately connected to the earth and each other, happyness and wellbeing are not just personal matters, they are communal ones. For too long wellness and Buddhist spaces have ignored the pressing realities of diversity and justice. Inner wellbeing and awakening has to be matched by an active commitment to justice, the alleviation of poverty, caring for the planet, questioning our privelege, how we can create a beloved community and uplift each other.

Join our inspiring socially engaged speakers and participate in talks, discussions and solutions.

  • Sacred and sustainable activism
  • Peace and mindfulness
  • Progressive Buddhism and the economy/planet
  • Racial and gender equality
  • LGBTQIA+ Dharma
  • Life hacks
  • Buddhist tools to manage addiction

For any queries email Ayya Yeshe:


Day One
Friday, 24th July 7-9pm EST (Saturday 25th 9-11am Sydney, Aust Time)

  • Bhante Sujato: The Anatomy of Equality

  • Justin Whitaker: Reimagining a Just Economy

Day Two
Saturday 25th July, 7-9pm EST (Sunday 26th, 9-11am Sydney Aust Time)

  • Rev Myokei Caine-Barrett Shonin: The Time to Act Is Now

  • Ayya Yeshe Bodhicitta: Love is Justice and the Personal is Political - Justice, Gender Equality and reclaiming the Sacred Feminine

  • Vimalasara Valerie Mason - John: Addiction Recovery and Liberation

Day 3
Sunday 5 - 7pm EST (Monday 7am-9am)

  • Lama Rod Owens: Sustainable Activism and Racial Justice

  • Akaliko Bhikkhu: Radical Rainbows: LGBTQIA+ Buddhists

More info


Thank you, Venerable @Akaliko! I look forward to attending!


I can’t attend because of time differences in Europe. Will these videos be posted on youtube or somewhere online afterwards?


Yes I suspect so. There’s 2 parts, prerecorded videos followed by a panel discussion, and Dhammanet YouTube channel is involved so I’m sure they will be available.


Warm greetings to Ayya Yeshe! :revolving_hearts: :wave:


Bhante Sujatos talk from yesterday’s Festival of Radical Awakening. It’s quite an interesting talk! The event continues today and tomorrow. Check the talks and times above.


I’m slightly confused by something said in the video. Donald Trump is a rapist and child abuser? He hasn’t been convicted in any court of such crimes. Is it then fair to label him as an abuser and a rapist? Just because we do not like someone doesn’t mean we can then slander them. I also question the idea that progressives are on the losing side. On the whole it is us conservatives and classical liberals who have lost. Progressives dominate in academia, the media, the workplace and, in the UK at least, in politics. The UK Conservative Party is barely conservative or classically liberal anymore and increasingly adopts progressive ideas. If an employee voices support for progressive values he could be in for a promotion. If another employee expounds voices support for conservative values they could find themselves without a job both in the civil service and in the private sector. None of that has changed under the Tories.

I’m also confused if Ven. Sujato is saying that progressives are morally superior? If so I would say that no political position has a monopoly on compassion. I am not morally inferior to a progressive just because I am a member of the Conservative Party. A buddhist progressive and a buddhist conservative can both be equally filled with compassion, kindness etc but can differ vastly in their politics as they have different ideas about how to best act on these intentions and what the best policy is. I think it is best to avoid “I am better, superior or equal” to others.

Lastly I do agree that progressives have a terrible problem with putting their ideas across in a way that doesn’t sound arrogant, condescending or patronising. I think most progressives, like most right wingers, have good intentions but in my experience they are terrible at arguing their point of view to those who are outside of the progressive tent. In the end, its those people you need to win over. Another problem is the totalitarianism that comes with some progressive thought. This was touched upon in the video. Venerable Sujato asked how meat isn’t just banned. Apart from leaving millions in poverty, such a policy would be a deep intrusion of the state into the private life of the individual. People don’t tend to like the state, that is other human beings, telling them what they can and cannot wear, eat, read etc etc. In short, on the whole humans will tend towards freedom whilst progressivism leans towards authoritarianism.

To be fair, Ven @sujato did say that the US Presidential election is being fought between two old white men who have both been accused of sexual misconduct.

Societies exist, and thrive, because of cooperation. This, inevitably involves some compromise about “freedoms”. Personally, I don’t like corporations being able to exploit that cooperation to assert so much influence on, and make so much money from, me and my fellow citizens, who are not “competing” on an equal playing field. The “free market” is a nice idea if you are in a powerful position, but is not particularly “free” for the 99%. Which is why we have taxes and other controls on corporations.


Being accused of and being a rapist or child abuser are two different things. Personally I don’t think we should be labeling people as being a rapist or a child abuser when they have not been convicted of said crimes, for they could be completely innocent. I’m also uncomfortable with the use of “white men” as if those immutable traits are somehow negative, but that is a different topic.

Societies exist, and thrive, because of cooperation . This, inevitably involves some compromise about “freedoms”. Personally, I don’t like corporations being able to exploit that cooperation to assert so much influence on, and make so much money from, me and my fellow citizens, who are not “competing” on an equal playing field. The “free market” is a nice idea if you are in a powerful position, but is not particularly “free” for the 99%. Which is why we have taxes and other controls on corporations.

Societies thrive because of freedom. Every other society that went for collectivism ended up falling into beggary, tyranny or both. You end up with the rule of the irrational mob, or more often a strong party and state who never gives up power. There is a reason why people want to emigrate to the likes of the US and the UK rather than North Korea. Still, any society will naturally require some level of co-operation. You can have co-operation without the state, that is other apes, telling people what they can and cannot wear, eat, read, travel to, marry, say and so on. We can have a functioning society without sacrificing our negative human rights, that is to say the right to non-interference unless we interfere with others (and so forfeit said liberties). The US is a perfect example of a functioning classically liberal state, although somewhat removed from a pure expression of those values as of late. Its one of the best countries in the world IMO.

In relation to corporations i’m not sure what issue you are raising there? If its that they can produce cheap goods then that is a benefit. If it is that they are so large and transnational that it makes taxing them hard then I agree but I see no reason why that should mean we abandon the free market, even less capitalism which is the best economic system we have come up with. No point killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

I’m not advocating erasing the somewhat-free market, which seems to be a reasonably good way of harnessing cooperation. But corporations (and small and medium businesses) are successful because of cooperation and rules (such as copyright, patents, and and so on), not despite them. And they are possible because of (largely) state-organised education and research.

As for the so-called “free market”, large corporations are simply not on the same playing field as individuals and small businesses. This is, of course, recognised even in places such as the US and Hong Kong, with anti-trust rules, and limits on profits of utility companies.

At least I can vote on my government.


:warning: No need to derail the thread further into politics :warning: :slight_smile:


There were some great talks at the Festival of Radical Awakening. I want to share a few of them here for those who are interested. They touch on themes often raised in this forum.

Vimalasara Valerie Mason - John: Addiction Recovery and Liberation

Addiction, compulsion, dependence, obsession, craving, infatuation—whatever you want to call it, you know it when you’re in it. Thoughts can be addicting, just like eating, drinking, shopping, or gambling, a fact the Buddha understood well. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it), people haven’t changed much in 2,000 years. The teachings of the Buddha are still useful, dependable lessons, available to help the ordinary person step out of the cycle of samsara and addiction and into peace, joy and liberation.

Lama Rod Owens: Sustainable Activism

How can we advocate for justice and care for ourselves and grow spiritually? How can we not burn out? How can we build beloved community and be better allies?

and my own offering:

Akāliko Bhikkhu: Radical Rainbows: LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Pride and Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ people are spiritual people. But for many, their relationship with religion has been characterised by rejection, bigotry and trauma. Although Buddhism is considered a more accepting religion, LGBTQIA+ people are often invisible, and their specific needs remain unacknowledged. Bhante Akāliko, founder of Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community, discusses the steps individuals and organisations can take to ensure Buddhist spaces are inclusive and safe for queer, trans and intersex Buddhists.


Thank you for sharing these talks, Ven. @Akaliko! :heart:

I really liked your talk. Thank you for giving it. It is important, given - as you said - so often LGBTQIA+ stories are hidden away.


Jim prompted me to watch this. I really liked it too. It’s a great reference resource and I like the concept of Rainbow Allies.


Thank you Bhante’s and the organisers. I need to re-listen to the Q&A for day 3, since here in New Zealand we were already supposed to be working… :sunglasses:


Hi @mikenz66 it was just uploaded by the indefatigable Damith to Dhammanet just 15 minutes ago - not sure if you were providing the link above or asking where it was, as others had searched during the week to no avail. But here it is!


Thanks Bhante, yes, I noticed it had been uploaded, and it did pop up in the link I gave, and I guess will eventually be part of a play list.

Listening to your talk again, then I’ll listen to the Q&A again… :pray: