Tag Archives: Bhikkhu Bodhi

Join the Conversation (1) by Thanissara

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

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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

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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

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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.

Again – here is the full version, plus the Q&A.

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!

Buddhists Rock!

It’s late and it’s been a loooong day – so instead of writing an update myself, I’m going to post on from my dear friend Gayle Markow who will join the Peoples Climate March with us here in New York City tomorrow. Gayle and I have known each other for many years. Our friendship began early 2000 when she became central to our fund raising campaign at San Francisco Insight for Dharmagiri’s HIV/Aids community outreach work in South Africa.

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Now many years later we shared the journey on the Climate Train and today’s events which Gayle records here. This was at at New York Insight. There were about 200 people from a diversity of geographical backgrounds, as well as New Yorkers, meeting to “Prepare the Heart to March.” In the evening we attended a symposium of climate leaders at New York Society of Ethical Culture. Over to Gayle.

I got up, got dressed and hailed a taxi for Insight New York down on 27th Street. Turned out to be the MOST awesome 3 hour event. The two nuns (Ayya Santussika and Santacitta Bhikkhunis) who were on the train with us, Thanissara, Bikkhu Bodhi, Wes Nisker, David Loy, and some other brilliant speakers. It was Mega-awesome!!! A major event unto itself!  

At NY Insight, I “scored” possibly the last available ticket for Bill McKibben’s talk tonight. I never heard him before, or read him, but people spoke highly and I was curious. He was awesome. Then other speakers who were also awesome. Mary Robinson, first woman President of Ireland, and now UN Special Envoy for Climate Change (previously UN High Commissioner for Human Rights). There was Sean Sweeney, founder and co-director of the Global Labor Institute, etc etc… Other speakers All wonderful too. Too numerous to name here right now. Sweeney said that ALL NY area Unions have endorsed the People’s Climate March. Bill McKibben said there will be more than 2700 marches  and events going on around the world (150+ countries) this weekend in Solidarity with the Climate March. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will also be joining the Climate March. So much more got said, and it was all of intense interest, and the 800 or so people there tonight were electrified. The energy was palpable.

The Climate March is gonna be huge. Seriously. Huge. And it will transform the movement for change. This is gonna be a wild and interesting ride. Not just the march, which is gonna be Huge. But the next few decades. Because the Earth, and mainly the survivability of our human (and lots of other) species is Seriously at risk, like Never Before. We’re moving rapidly toward what they call the “tipping point” where it will be too late to reverse, to salvage things. It’s already not clear whether we’ve already passed that point, but there seems to be some hope that we haven’t, but that also we don’t have much time, actually hardly any time.

There is a tremendous sense of urgency here. It’s contagious, and at the same time,hopeful. Because people – in large numbers – have gotten serious. I think we might be witnessing the “hundredth monkey effect”. Wow. So, anyway, that was my day. If you can, get out and demonstrate tomorrow, and then be sure to watch the news, and see what kind of news we make here.”

Just to add onto Gayle’s report a mention the presentation at the NY Society of Ethical Culture by Lester Brown who is considered one of the world’s most influential thinkers. He gave a brief preview of his forth coming book which was packed full of truly inspiring data about the fast moving energy transformation from fossil fuels to wind and solar happening all over the world. Countries like Germany and Denmark are leading, and while lagging behind, the USA has the capacity to really fast forward this momentum, given the political will. Brown thinks that we’ll see a significant energy revolution in the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, it’s important to keep the pressure on for change. Here’s more urgency from S.Africa’s Kumi Naidoo – ED of Greenpeace International, spelling it out on the eve of the Peoples Climate March happening all over the world on September 21st.

Rev TK - Japanese American at NY Insight today talking about Nuclear Waste being like having a house with no toilet. (Meaning, we sh#ite in our own home) Time to shift from Nuclear!Back to NY Insight for a moment. The day included speeches on climate, Dharma, and activism, by Ayya Santacitta (we are in climate chaos and there’s nowhere to hide), Ayya Santussika (who reported on the Climate Train, Tar Sands and the Climate Pledge), Bhikkhu Bodhi (who talked of transforming fear into samvega – urgency – and desire into fearless compassion), David Loy (a shift of relationship to body, self and earth), Wes Nisker (the mystery of our cosmological reality, conveyed with humor and lightness), Rev TK (nuclear waste is like having no toilet in your house!), and myself (journey out of denial and reading from The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra.)

Thanks to all who came to share the day and to Kevin Hansen for doing this video of what he called the “new anthem” of the Climate Movement – You heard it here ppl – at our New York Insight event which, as said by Gayle, was AWESOME!

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