Convocation 2023 UU Buddhist Fellowship

Convocation 2023 UU Buddhist Fellowship

Convocation is a biennial opportunity for UU Buddhists to sit together, compare notes on our sangha experiences, study and play together. We have been holding convocations since 2005. For each convocation we invite a guest teacher to offer dharma talks and teaching. In addition, there will be times of meditation, workshops, and informal meals and breaks where you can get to know other attendees. The theme of Convo 2023 is:

Ecodharma: Buddhist Perspectives on the Ecological Crisis with guest teacher David Loy. 693290

The 2023 UUBF Convocation will begin on Thursday, April 27, with a “grab and go” dinner available at 6 pm, and will end on Sunday, April 30 at 11:30 am. It will be held at The DeKoven Center,  600 Caron Butler Drive Racine, Wisconsin 53403. This lovely retreat center is on the shores of Lake Michigan.

This will be a hybrid format event, so you can register as 1) an online zoom participant, 2) a commuter participant with meals or 3) an in-person participant, including lodging. There will also be a public talk on Saturday, April 29.

An early-bird discount on registration will end on February 1, but registration will continue until 4/12/2023. A limited number of scholarships are available. If you are in need of a scholarship in order to attend, please email  before registering.

There are several major airports nearby (O’Hare and Milwaukee), and Racine is also served by Amtrak trains. We will be arranging carpooling for the retreat, connecting those who can provide rides with those in need of ground transportation. 


More on David Loy and the theme of the Convocation

Dr. David Robert Loy is a professor of Buddhist and comparative philosophy and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Zen tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. Loy is one of the founding members of the new Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, near Boulder, Colorado.  He is the author of many books, including Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis.

For our weekend together, Loy writes: 

“Traditional Buddhist teachings help us wake up individually and realize our interdependence with others. Today we need to wake up collectively in another way. We need to wake up to what is one of the greatest dangers that humanity has ever encountered. Buddhism can help us understand and respond appropriately to the climate emergency driven ecological crisis. Neither the Buddha nor Asian Buddhist traditions have faced the complex set of challenges of the twenty-first century. Yet Buddhism includes many teachings that are relevant to our situation.

There are profound parallels between our individual human struggles which Buddhism addressed and our ecological predicament today. The parallels suggest that the eco-crisis is as much a spiritual challenge as a technological and economic one. In both cases, at the root of the problem is our illusion of separation: that “I” am separate from others, and that we are separate from the natural world. 

Perhaps the most important thing that Buddhism has to offer today is a new version of the bodhisattva — or ecosattva — path, which can respond to collective and institutionalized versions of greed, ill will and delusion (the three poisons). All this suggests, the ecological challenge is also a challenge to the ways we understand and practice Buddhism.”

After postponements due to COVID, the UU Buddhist Fellowship’s Convocation returns. On April 27-30, 2023 Unitarian Universalists Buddhists from many practice traditions will gather to meditate together, share our larger sangha, and engage with a distinguished teacher. This year our guiding teacher is David Loy. David is an authorized teacher in the Sanbo Zen lineage of Japanese Zen Buddhism and has studied with Robert Aitken. He has served as Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Bunkyo University in Chigasaki, Japan, and as the Besi professor of Religion and Society at Xavier University in Cincinnati. His latest book is Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis (2019, Wisdom Press).

For the first time, UUBF Convocation will be held in the Midwest! We will gather at the beautiful DeKoven Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin from Thursday evening April 27 through Sunday morning April 30, 2023. The DeKoven Center is right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Racine is accessible from the Milwaukee and O’Hare Chicago airports, and is within a five-hour drive of all major cities in six surrounding Midwest states.

In addition to the sessions led by David Loy, there will be opportunities for small group meetings for shared practice and discussion among practitioners of the various Buddhist schools and lineages; koan study from The Hidden Lamp with author Florence Caplow, organizational tips for your local sangha, and workshops on eco-activism, environmental racism, and eco-activism.

Registration materials can be found at Early registrants get discounted rates through FEBRUARY 1. We hope you will attend in-person. Online-only participation will also be offered. Full and partial scholarships and help with rides from Milwaukie or O’Hare Airport to the DeKoven Center in Racine are available. For more information or to register go to

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