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In honor of Black History Month, Tricycle is presenting a special video series, “Teachings for Uncertain Times,” featuring 13 teachers of color, here on our blog, Trike Daily, throughout February. The videos are free to watch.

In the following video, Ven. Pannavati Bhikkhuni, co-abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage and the founder and spiritual director of Heartwood Refuge and Retreat Center, both in Hendersonville, North Carolina, talks about the Buddha’s lesson of turning inward to be a “knower of the world.”

“The truth of the matter is, whatever time we’re living in, it’s uncertain. It’s been uncertain from the beginning and will be uncertain until the end,” Pannavati says in her talk. “And so instead of looking outside for our indicators about what the world is and what it means to us, we have to turn inward and look inward. And . . . sometimes it’s not that pretty.”

Ven. Pannavati also reflects on pushing back against dharma centers who initially invited her to speak to their people of color sanghas.

“I’m not a black dharma teacher, I’m just a dharma teacher. So call me when you want me to come and talk to your whole sangha, OK?” Pannavati recalls saying. “And they did, they did begin to call.”


Download a transcript of this talk. It has been edited for clarity.

Read “This Buddhist Life: An Interview with Venerable Pannavati Karuna”

Watch other videos in the “Teachings for Uncertain Times” series


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