Liberating the Heart, Dismantling Oppression: A Retreat with Arinna Weisman, Phoenix Soleil, Lyn Fine & Joshua bee Alafia

September 13 - September 22, 2019

Liberating the Heart: Dismantling Dominant Culture through our practice of Dharma

Our intention in this ten-day retreat is to support increasing our resilience and internal resources so that we may better partner across difference and navigate complex situations in alignment with our values. With mindfulness and lovingkindness practice we will explore how our sense of self is built through dynamics of privileging and disenfranchisement. As a community, we will uncover and explore our social locations of class, gender, race, physical and mental ability, elitism and citizenship, including how we understand the intersectionality of these dynamics and envision building non-harming dharma communities liberated from oppression.

Costs & Fees

Residential sliding scale $45 - $65 per day

Non-residential sliding scale $30 - $45 per day

Including accommodation and three vegetarian meals daily

Housing is simple, most in double-occupancy rooms; all meals are vegetarian with vegan & gluten-free options.

According to the ancient tradition of dana, those who carry on the teachings of the Buddha are supported through the generosity of the community; thus dana to support the teachers, manager and cook at Dhamma Dena may be offered at the conclusion of the retreat.

Work exchange & scholarships available according to need, upon request. Due to our current focus on overdue repair and maintenance we ask those who need financial assistance pay at least $10 per day to cover our food costs.


  1. REGISTER HERE (please click on the underlined words or the box to the right to take you to the registration form).
  2. Pay deposit or pay in full for retreat using PayPal using the drop down menu to the right or send a check to the address below.

The registration form AND the PayPal (or check) must BOTH be filled out for your registration to be processed. If you have not done both then you are not registered.

Dhamma Dena, PO Box 183, Joshua Tree, CA 92252.

Your Registration is not confirmed until we receive your deposit. The Registration fee is also non-refundable.

Upon receipt of the deposit you will be sent a confirmation letter containing all the essential details about the retreat.


The Open Dharma Foundation offers scholarships for helping to cover the cost of retreats. They have quarterly deadlines:

  • January 15
  • April 15
  • August 15
  • October 15


Dāna (दान) is a Sanskrit and Pali word connoting the virtue of generosity, charity or giving of alms. The teachings, valuable beyond measure, are offered out of generosity.

Your registration cost covers food and lodging only. According to the ancient tradition of dana those who carry on the teachings of the Buddha are supported through the generosity of the community; thus dana to support the teachings may be offered at the conclusion of the retreat.

Dāna offerings to teachers and staff are gratefully received.

About the Instructors

Arinna Weisman

Arinna Weisman has studied insight meditation since 1979 and has been teaching since 1989. Her root teacher is Ruth Denison who was empowered by the great Burmese lay teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin. She is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley. She is co-author of the book, A Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation and a contributor to Women Practicing Buddhism; American Experiences, edited by Peter Gregory and Susanne Mrozik.

Her dharma practice and teaching are infused with her political and environmental activism. She was the first out queer teacher with Eric Kolvig to lead insight meditation retreats for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Queer community. She also leads ‘Uncovering the Heart Retreats’ integrating the practice of awareness of the social dynamics of inequity with the dharma practice of liberation.

Phoenix Soleil

Phoenix is an artist and trainer and meditation teacher committed to creating more compassion and redemption in our society. She has many years of formal meditation practice on retreat, where she focuses on cultivating self-awareness and compassion for all beings. In her work, she uses Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a form of compassionate communication that supports us to attuning to our feelings and values. Whenever possible she invokes her background in conscious dance, Laughter Yoga, acting, and the expressive arts to build healthy, authentic, joyful, and engaged communities of all ages.

Joshua Bee Alafia

Joshua Bee Alafia’s meditation practice began in 1989 when his mother gave him a mantra (an empowering statement that is recited internally) to work with. This sparked a rich journey through many different meditation styles from the Hindu, Hawaiian Shamanic, Ifa, Sufi, Dzogchen, Taoist, and finally, Vipassana traditions. After realizing the transformative power of meditation practice in his own life, Joshua determined he'd bring it to the youth. He began teaching mindfulness meditation to incarcerated, court involved and system vulnerable youth through New York’s Lineage Project in 2010. He is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders training through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. In New York, he has taught at New York Insight, The Brooklyn Zen Center, MNDFL and the Garrison Institute. He now teaches at South Side Insight and TaoYoga Arts in Chicago as well as offers courses online.

Lyn Fine

Born in 1944 and raised in New York City in a Jewish family of German, Russian, and Latvian heritage, Lyn Fine received Lamp Transmission as a Dharma Teacher in 1994 from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village, the Mindfulness Practice Centre he established in 1982 in southwestern France. Lyn currently lives in Berkeley, CA, where she volunteers with a small nonprofit, Mindful Peacebuilding, and enjoys offering retreats and meditation practice coaching.

Lyn's lifelong passion has been learning ways to build truly inclusive and loving community. She is a founding member of ARISE, an international sangha in the Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism whose acronym means Awakening Through Race, Intersectionality and Social Equity, and they are committed to becoming aware of the suffering caused by racial, systemic, and social inequities, and as individuals, and as a community, to understanding the roots of these inequities, and to transforming this suffering into compassion, understanding and love in action.