Looking at the caption to the right, of course the Buddha has always been “green.” The Dharma of Siddhartha Gautama rose from an understanding of the truth of Nature, and the path points to the benefits of respecting all forms of life, human and non-human, sentient and non-sentient. It’s interesting to examine how northern and western people’s environmental tendencies have conditioned the path of practice by bringing Earth-based issues to the forefront of mind and path, as well as issues of gender, economic and social equality. This conditioning of the Dharma that Siddhartha taught means that we’re not only looking deeply within to see our own mind-made dukkha, we’re also looking without to see dukkha on a systemic level across the totality of experience.
We explored this two-fold examination of dukkha during our recent Deep Ecology Day of Mindfulness. We reflected on how important it is to simplify our lives enough, to slow down our lives enough, so we can again hear the voice of the Earth, to feel/touch the subtle vibrations of life pulsating around and through us here in the Milwaukee River Watershed. Slowing down and touching the Earth gives rise to energy, inspiration, renewal and healing. When we touch, feel, and hear the Earth, we also come in contact with the cries of life, the calls for help from our fellow beings, sentient and non-sentient. The Earth is telling us that many things are not in harmony, that a large majority of the human family has lost its connection to the Earth.
It can be a challenge to face, look at, see and feel deeply the pains and cries of life. Yet, something wonderful happens when we do that. We find authenticity, because we’re not denying reality anymore; we find courage, because we’re not turning away from the fear and pain anymore; and we find energy to engage our imagination as we come together in community to rediscover old ways of being and co-create new ways to live a life of simple, joyous, sustainable, abundance.