Vanessa Wang

vanessa wang headshot

What pronouns do you use? She/her

Where will you be located while serving on the board? LA

Please describe your activity with any Recovery Dharma sangha, including local, affinity, inter-sangha, circle, or volunteer with the board: I’m an active member of the RD in Seattle, and help out with meeting responsibilities. I’m also part of Buddhist Recovery Network, so I help spread words about RD in Buddhist Recovery Network. And when Buddhist Recovery Network has events, I would always nominate people from RD first.

Briefly describe your professional/livelihood history in a narrative , and upload a resume or copy it below.  I studied Chinese Literature as my bachelor’s degree and Religious Studies (Buddhism) as my master’s degree. My academic focus has always been on Buddhist psychology, and I am in the process of applying to psychology PhD programs. I am an editor at a Buddhist book publishing, a volunteer at Buddhist Recovery Network and Insight LA. I co-founded a mental health support group for women in Taipei back in 2017, it was the first in the country. I grew up bilingual and between different cultures.

Are there other special or unique skills that you believe would benefit serving as a board member?

Literature plus, as my entire adult life has been dedicated to learning literature, Eastern philosophy, and Buddhism. (please see announcement)

Please use the space below to share a brief (300 words or less) statement about yourself.  The questions below are offered as prompts for topics you might find helpful. We do not anticipate that you will answer each one.

I came from a Buddhist family background, and first learned about Buddhism when I was 19. It was an unusual experience. I was in Taiwan, and I stayed in a forest monastery for the entire summer as the only layperson. It was also at that monastery that I took refuge to the three jewels, and accepted the five precepts. I had always had an alcohol and eating “problem” before that, I just didn’t know that addiction was its name. The five precepts kept me sober from alcohol for 6 years straight. However, the meaning of the fifth precept in Chinese was solely alcohol, so I was abusing other things as I was sober from alcohol. It wasn’t until 2020 January that I went to a 12 step program for eating that I learned about my addiction. I was educated about the seriousness of my addiction in 12 step programs and AAs. But because I already had 6 years of Buddhist background, I could not fully accept the philosophy in 12 steps. A few months later, I found RD. It was like discovering a beautiful and magical land where I finally belong.

I spent 6 years studying Buddhism in the most academic way, it was never used to solve my addiction and depression. It wasn’t until the past year that I started learning Buddhism again as a beginner, but this time on how to practice and cultivate my ethics, my spirit, and my being. I think my path to recovery shows that there is not just one way to recovery, and there is not just one way to learning Buddhism. I have been to the hellish realm of hungry ghosts, I have lost everything because of my depression and many addiction, and it was this practice of Buddhism, meditation, RD, social connections that helped me live for the first time in my life. It would be the most meaningful thing if I could pass this gift to others.