Hear Lama Rod offer a live dharma talk from his upcoming retreat on Friday December 11th from 5:30-6:45pm ET. This session is freely offered, but teacher dana is appreciated. Pre-registration for the Live from Southern Dharma series is required.
In the above video, Lama Rod Owens responds to the question: “What or where is the Southern in the Dharma?”
“Hey, this is Lama Rod. I’m really excited to talk about my understanding of what a Southern dharma can look like.
I was born and raised in North Georgia, in Rome, Georgia, which is about an hour and a half north of Atlanta — that part of Georgia where the movie “Deliverance” was filmed. And in many ways the movie Deliverance was more like a documentary than a fictional film.
But anyhow, I grew up in that part of the country and I grew up Christian, grew up in the United Methodist Church, and my mother is a United Methodist minister. And in certain ways, growing up, I loved being in the South. I loved particularly being within a culture of Southern Black people, and that was really intensely nourishing for me to have that experience of really being protected and held by a community.
I left the south after college and came to the northeast, and I’ve lived in Massachusetts, I’ve lived in Virginia, D.C., and New York, and I’m currently in the process of relocating back to Atlanta. I’m going back to Atlanta for many reasons. I’m going back primarily because I’m really interested in what a Southern dharma can look like, and I think a Southern dharma will look very different than what we’ve experienced in other parts of the country. And I think a Southern dharma will be much more community-based. I think it will reflect traditional Christian congregational models. I think that Southern dharma communities will focus more on supporting folks in life passages. And I think also Southern dharma will have a lot of space for folks to do this integrative practice of Christianity and dharma, which I’m beginning to see.
For me, even as a Buddhist practitioner, other paths are really important to me, including Christianity as well as Hinduism. So I want to be in a culture, in an environment, where I can bring all of these practices and beliefs together, and I think Southern dharma can actually create a kind of spaciousness for us to create a dharma practice where it reflects our life and our identity. So I’m really excited about that and I am really committed to bringing this about in the future of dharma.”
Considered one of the leaders of the next generation of Dharma teachers, Lama Rod Owens has a blend of formal Buddhist training and life experience that gives him a unique ability to understand, relate and engage with those around him in a way that’s spacious and sincere. His gentle, laid-back demeanor and willingness to bare his heart and soul makes others want to do the same. Even when seated in front of a room, he’s next to you, sharing his stories and struggles with an openness vulnerability and gentle humor that makes you genuinely feel good about who you are, with all your flaws and foibles, you’re lovable and deserving of happiness and joy. He invites you into the cross sections of his life as a Black, queer male, born and raised in the South, and heavily influenced by the church and its community. Lama Rod has been leading annual meditation retreats at Southern Dharma Retreat Center since 2017.
For more information about Lama Rod, including thoughts from his own blog and other talks he has given, please visit his website – https://www.lamarod.com/.
Lama Rod will be live from Southern Dharma (virtually) this Friday, December 11th from 5:30-6:45pm ET. Attendance is free, but preregistration is required. Attendance is limited to the first 100 participants, and you can register here.