“Things are getting worse and worse, better and better, faster and faster.” Lou Leonard, science advisor and co-founder of One Earth Sangha
Sunday October 5th: What a great launch to our conversation! Thanks to our teachers Tara Brach, Ruth King and Jack Kornfield, alongside our fantastic One Earth Sangha team & Maestro Conference, and mostly your participation and presence, representing our international sangha.
At time of writing we are now 2000+ (and growing) signed up for this conversation. This fast expanding interest show that the time has arrived for Buddhist, Dharma and Mindfulness practitioners to engage climate change. If in doubt, please read leading Buddhist scholar Bhikkhu Bodhi’s post in One Earth Sangha (also printed in Truth Out.) Encouraged by the example of the Buddha, who faced numerous difficult challenges, we too should engage the ginormous challenge of ensuring a sustainable future. Alone it is overwhelming and we can do little, but together we have the focus, clarity and compassion to make a difference. And together not only can we contribute to the fast growing, wonderfully diverse, climate movement, but we can also make an important offering toward the changes that need to happen.
I hope you can continue join us as we further the conversation each Sunday this coming month. (If you haven’t already, you can still register for free here.) Meanwhile here are some of the highlights from our teachers. You can also listen to the full recording here.
“Because We Love” Tara Brach
Tara emphasized the need to join together rather than feel alone. That our original suffering is feeling separate and the consequent fear of the “unreal other” which fuels the painful violation of self, other (also in unfortunate racist ways), and the earth. Those who dominate feel the right to exploit, which has now led us to the 6th great extinction: by 2100 over ½ of all mammals and plants will have died off. In the face of this we must, as Rumi said, Sit and be still and listen for we are drunk and at the edge of the roof. Tara then led us into the Grail story and the way of redemption by understanding we are this living earth. Because of this we feel the pain of the earth but we also can make the true choice of the human heart, which is to love and to act from that love.
“Rebelling For Balance” – Ruth King
Ruth led us into her own process of getting educated on climate issues (recommending Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything.) One thing is clear is the utter interdependence of all things. This understanding challenges us to come out of the “silos” and territorial boundaries we are bound in. At a systemic level we can recognize a skeletal shape of greed and exploitation, which has set a power dynamic play between Capitalism & Culture. We see the planet, Gaia, our Great Mother, exploited unfairly as are poor people, indigenous people, People of Color – over centuries. Climate change then, Ruth said, is a call to clearly see divisions and mostly how our hearts are divided. Climate change is changing us. We are being forced to see the delusion of false boundaries. As encouraged by Martin Luther King, we are learning the true balance of power infused by love and love strengthened by power.
“Setting the Compass of the Heart” – Jack Kornfield
Jack encouraged sustaining our selves through difficult times and the importance of sustaining our good heart even though there is dukkha (suffering.) As the Buddha taught dukkha is always with us, and now staring us in the face through climate change. And yet there is also the giant vision of the Bodhisattva. We are awakening together with all beings into the way of connection, compassion and care for all. Jack reminded us of the Dalai Lama, and the vows of the Bodhisattva, as the instruction for navigating difficult times. He also reminded us of the important example of great beings like Gandhi, who even while taking down the British Empire, still took a day a week to observe silence and do inner work. That Aung San Suu Kyi, who said of her 17 years under house arrest, that never was she in prison because she never hated “them.” Jack reminded us its important not to hope on the results but to trust the seeds being planted.
Our next conversation is on Sunday 12th October. Join Ayya Anandabodhi Bhikkhuni, Rev angel Kyodo Williams and Susie Harrington (bios here – scroll down) and our team, as we continue to deepen into the conversation. We will be focusing on the following theme:
Imbedded in climate change, are many pressing global issues of our time- privilege, colonialism, patriarchy, consumerism, and a split with the natural world. Presenters will reflect on holding these complex and potentially overwhelming truths, while making space to move into compassionate and authentic response.
“See” you then!