[Engaged] Interfaith work and Climate Strike

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  • Jakuden
    Member
    • Jun 2015
    • 6142

    #16
    Originally posted by Risho
    Doshin this is not an attack on you by any means; I just wanted to respond to this with something that I see in Zen, and it bothers me.

    I'm sick of "concern". Everyone's concerned. Concern does nothing; it helps nothing. Concern allows us to feel self-satisfied that we are doing something. People think that protesting or getting outraged is doing something; it's not. Action is action. Save the concern and do something. But before you can act, you need to know what you are doing; otherwise we are just sleepwalking.

    I'm catching up on the Realizing Genjokoan readings, and early on in the Genjokoan, Dogen says something that is one of my favorite things he's ever written:



    Proselytizing Zen - telling people to wake up and so on is delusion. Telling ourselves - actually living out those things - is enlightenment.

    We have to be the change we want to see as Gandhi so accurately stated.

    American Buddhism I feel has been politically appropriated. Zen should never be used as a wrapper for some sort of belief or political agenda. I'm getting sick and tired of engaged Buddhism and this idea of Zen Buddhists having to feel or believe something and take action.

    These problems are so much bigger than any of us, and this is not the point of Zen.

    In any case, I understand the intent; I understand that everyone wants to do good, but what turns me off about Loy and so many of these "eco-Buddhists" and engaged Buddhists is that they are taking a stand on something and trying to reify that stance with the Dharma. That's the opposite of what Zen should be. Zen is and always has been a path to understand our true place in this universe; all these other things are just a distraction even if they are painted and justified in all sorts of ways.

    Instead of telling others how to wake up and live - we need to turn the light inward and follow our own teachings. Be an example, don't preach the example.

    I know I know I'm totally ranting, and I'm not judging anyone's practice; that's where it gets complicated; I mean after you've done this a while you know your practice.

    I am criticizing the state of Western Buddhism; Zen isn't supposed to be about replacing one set of ideologies with another. Sure in the beginning, fake it til you make it, but you need to dig under the layers of all ideologies - not be given new ones.

    So while I think acting against climate change, once we actually stop freaking the f out and exaggerating things, take a measured look and see how we really can fix this, then we act. That measured response is what we learn here.

    In any case - the same ideological crap happens with vegetariansm, and that's why I had to stop reading simple living. I mean the assumption that eating vegetables one day is better for you than meat and also simpler. Give me a break. You are better off fasting - now I'd get behind that. But that's not Buddhism, so it's still irrelevant!

    And that's what I'm criticizing; I don't want Zen to become Disney or "Whole Foods" Zen; that's what we have here.

    Now I could go into the science of why meat is better nutritionally; ethics is an unmeasurable and vitally important thing; I can't argue anyone and I wouldn't try

    And that's the exact point. Nutritional ideology doesn't belong in Zen either.

    I know this is obvious but nature isn't the disney channel, and we are apex predators.

    In any case, you don't need to hear me telling you that. Think how taken aback you would be if "Simple Living" said for one day a week I want you to all eat carnivore. In reality that is probably the most healthy option; I know paradigms are hard to break and established nutritional guidelines say otherwise.

    But heres' the deal - you should tell me shut my trap; you came here to practice not talk about nutrition science.

    And that's exactly how we should treat any ideology that masks itself into being some sort of Buddhist teaching, even when that is some sort of political belief, agenda or nutritional religion that seems true.

    I'm sorry - I'm not hear to be indoctrinized. And I don't want any nonsense creeping itself in. I'm here to understand and see through all my assumptions and beliefs, and any so-called Zen teacher that doesn't point us toward ourself and wants to give us a belief needs to re-evaluate their calling.

    If we don't get to the bottom of ourselves and really practice, none of this matters - we are just robots parroting people; our rakusu just becomes another costume to make us feel special. This is not special.

    I leave you with Ikkyu- and I promise I'm done lol



    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    Risho, have you ever spent time at a monastery or Zen Center for Sesshin, or other retreat? If not, I recommend it. Much of what you say is completely understandable from a lay perspective; the human population is so huge and the world is so vast that it is difficult if not impossible for our brains to grasp the effect we have on each other. I often grapple with the same type of dialogue in my head that you have written here. Spending time at the Monastery helps me to have a visual example, a clear picture of how "engaged Zen" really works, when each individual is an essential cell of a living organism, like the bees in Sekishi's hive. The bees don't suffer by overthinking, they don't think about how they are going to die soon so they had better live for today and not worry about tomorrow, nor do they virtue signal and sit on the fence directing all the other bees to do what's good. They just do their part with the focus of daily bee-life.

    In the Monastery it is similar to the beehive, day to day... however, they also set aside time for Dharma talks and scholarly study along with all the usual planning of projects and operations. This is because they have gathered together with one commonality, for all their differences, and that is "Bodhicitta--" according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Bodhicitta is a "spontaneous wish to attain enlightenment motivated by great compassion for all sentient beings, accompanied by a falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently existing self." So the teaching and the learning and the reading, though perhaps not essential to the basic survival needs of the group, are the reason they are there, to learn how to suffer less via the Buddha's medicine.

    Outside the Monastery, we lay folks want to cultivate Bodhicitta sometimes, too, and it's a little harder because we are scattered all over the place. We can't visually see how we are preparing each others' meals, cleaning each others' environments, or saving each others' resources with everything we do. But that's exactly what we are doing regardless. It logically leads to discussions here in our Sangha about how we can do all those things as laypeople more in accordance with the Precepts. It's okay to disagree, but there is no reason to discourage awareness and concern about issues brought up here in the Engaged Buddhism forum. We will all sit together later, do Zazen, and drop all the concerns together too! And that is always our Roshi's main message here, I hear it loud and clear--that when it's time, drop all the thoughts of liberal and conservative, good and bad, and just sit!

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH in a little way.

    Comment

    • Onka
      Member
      • May 2019
      • 1575

      #17
      Originally posted by Jakuden
      Risho, have you ever spent time at a monastery or Zen Center for Sesshin, or other retreat? If not, I recommend it. Much of what you say is completely understandable from a lay perspective; the human population is so huge and the world is so vast that it is difficult if not impossible for our brains to grasp the effect we have on each other. I often grapple with the same type of dialogue in my head that you have written here. Spending time at the Monastery helps me to have a visual example, a clear picture of how "engaged Zen" really works, when each individual is an essential cell of a living organism, like the bees in Sekishi's hive. The bees don't suffer by overthinking, they don't think about how they are going to die soon so they had better live for today and not worry about tomorrow, nor do they virtue signal and sit on the fence directing all the other bees to do what's good. They just do their part with the focus of daily bee-life.

      In the Monastery it is similar to the beehive, day to day... however, they also set aside time for Dharma talks and scholarly study along with all the usual planning of projects and operations. This is because they have gathered together with one commonality, for all their differences, and that is "Bodhicitta--" according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Bodhicitta is a "spontaneous wish to attain enlightenment motivated by great compassion for all sentient beings, accompanied by a falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently existing self." So the teaching and the learning and the reading, though perhaps not essential to the basic survival needs of the group, are the reason they are there, to learn how to suffer less via the Buddha's medicine.

      Outside the Monastery, we lay folks want to cultivate Bodhicitta sometimes, too, and it's a little harder because we are scattered all over the place. We can't visually see how we are preparing each others' meals, cleaning each others' environments, or saving each others' resources with everything we do. But that's exactly what we are doing regardless. It logically leads to discussions here in our Sangha about how we can do all those things as laypeople more in accordance with the Precepts. It's okay to disagree, but there is no reason to discourage awareness and concern about issues brought up here in the Engaged Buddhism forum. We will all sit together later, do Zazen, and drop all the concerns together too! And that is always our Roshi's main message here, I hear it loud and clear--that when it's time, drop all the thoughts of liberal and conservative, good and bad, and just sit!

      Gassho,
      Jakuden
      SatToday/LAH in a little way.
      Gassho
      Anna
      st

      Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
      穏 On (Calm)
      火 Ka (Fires)
      They/She.

      Comment

      • Risho
        Member
        • May 2010
        • 3179

        #18
        Meitou I’m not offended; I just think that vegetarianism is not buddhism; neither is any other religious or political ideology. I think the two get confounded

        gassho

        risho
        -stlah
        Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

        Comment

        • Kokuu
          Treeleaf Priest
          • Nov 2012
          • 6785

          #19
          So while I think acting against climate change, once we actually stop freaking the f out and exaggerating things, take a measured look and see how we really can fix this, then we act. That measured response is what we learn here.
          Okay, I am going to combine my view as a Zen Buddhist with my former life as a research scientist as both are relevant here, I feel.

          The basic answer is that we have taken a measured look for over three decades. The science is all there and we know what needs to be done. There are dozens of reports commissioned and delivered that tell us all we need to know and keep being updated. However, the basic science has been there since the 1980s (scientists from Exxon knew it as well as independent climatologists).

          However, acting against this, fossil fuel companies and those who believe in the primacy of free-market economies (conservatives + libertarians) have been doing their damnedest to dilute climate targets, muddy the waters of the science and alter national governmental policy to their own advantage. Normally we would take scientific authority at their word on most topics, especially when there is a large consensus on a topic. NASA is not a political organisation. Nor is the Royal Society of the UK or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Even economic institutions such as the World Bank, who are hardly woolly liberals, are speaking out on the need for action saying that "Without urgent action, climate change impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030".

          However, there are huge vested interests that benefit greatly from our continued ambivalence and a mistrust of scientists. Things were gaining momentum until George W Bush, a dyed in the wool oil man, took a red pen to the report produced by his environment department, taking out conclusions and watering down others. It is now becoming clear that fossil fuel companies have known for decades what was going on but decided to take the quick buck over ethical action.

          To me, Zen is about saving beings if possible and preventing the global heating of our planet seems like a really really really good place to start as a lot can be achieved in a short space of time if we want to.

          Climate change reflects the Zen principles of the interdependency of all things and the karmic results of action. However, those who are using the greatest amount of fossil fuel will not feel the greatest consequences - it will, as ever, be the poorer nations in hot areas who experience greater droughts and the low-lying islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans who feel the effect of sea level rise as it covers parts of their territory. Unsurprisingly, they are very concerned about the lack of action currently happening in the western world and other places of high fossil fuel consumption.

          For me, Right Action at this point combines with Right Speech in speaking out on the need to address this situation now, for the good of all beings living on the planet, human and non-human.

          I worked in an environmental science institute in a European university in the 1990s and we were looking at how changes in temperature and atmospheric CO2 would affect the growth of plants which will both change cropping patterns and the relationship of plants with pollinators as flowering times and insect maturation rates and even ranges alter. Rapidly changing climate alters huge amounts of biological systems with consequences for all of life.

          As a Zen Buddhist, I feel it is an important part of my practice to stand up for the truth in this matter and join the fight for environmental justice. However, I am not saying that everyone's Zen should look like that. But, for many of us, there is a Whole Earth Sangha that is going to be increasingly affected by man-made planetary climate change and continuing to practice without addressing that feels rather redundant.

          There is a lot of media specifically designed to confuse people around this topic, while sounding plausibly rational and measured about needing to further consider the science and action needed but it is really just stalling tactics. The truth is that we need to act, and act now as human beings. I am glad that many Buddhists are onside with this but it is everyone's choice what they want their practice to look like and I don't see that any sangha is force-marching their students onto Extinction Rebellion marches.

          Gassho
          Kokuu PhD
          -sattoday/lah-

          Useful Reading
          IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land 2019
          IPCC Climate Change Synthesis Report 2014
          Royal Society Short Guide to Climate Science
          NASA Global Climate Change website
          World Bank on Climate Change
          World Economic Forum 'For small island nations, climate change is not a threat. It's already here'
          Climate Change Science Distorted and Suppressed
          Fossil fuel big five 'spent €251m lobbying EU' since 2010
          Exxon sowed doubt about climate crisis
          Last edited by Kokuu; 10-26-2019, 11:17 PM.

          Comment

          • Risho
            Member
            • May 2010
            • 3179

            #20
            thank you for that Kokuu. For the record I’m not a climate change denier; these ideas that veganism is better for the planet, etc seem to be pervasive in Buddhist circles. I’m glad you take a stand for something you believe in; again I’m saying that these types of things are separate to me, but I can understand where you are coming from.

            Speaking of World Leaders, countries that have billions of people really need to step up to have real impact imho

            I will now stumble down from my soapbox lol
            Last edited by Risho; 10-27-2019, 01:51 AM.
            Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

            Comment

            • Shonin Risa Bear
              Member
              • Apr 2019
              • 921

              #21
              Moved to say in this thread that there is, or was, a practice led by a now apparently inactive site called Extinction Witness -- I know the young woman who began this but we have fallen out of touch -- of performing an annual ceremony at or near US Thanksgiving of striking ("inviting" as Thich Nhat Hanh would rather put it) 108 bells as invoking thoughts of atonement toward all species made extinct by human activity. Metta for the dodo, so to speak. Haven't heard of a date for this year and, wishing to keep it up, I did the 108 bells and nine bows before the altar after morning service today, with a Verse of Atonement, for all extinct species. _()_

              For Thanksgiving the family has taken up the practice of reciting the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, which the Haudenosaunee have encouraged other peoples to consider and recite, and which I think goes a long way toward moderating our attitude toward foods, as it implies more than "enough" may be somewhat disrespectful toward the earth and other creatures. Regardless of the varying political and science-based (or otherwise) views of family members, this seems to pull us thoughtfully together, at least for the day.

              Ah, found it! Will ring 108 bells again on Nov. 30. https://www.lostspeciesday.org/


              gassho
              doyu sat today
              Last edited by Shonin Risa Bear; 11-27-2019, 02:21 PM. Reason: more information 11/27
              Visiting priest: use salt

              Comment

              • Doshin
                Member
                • May 2015
                • 2644

                #22
                Originally posted by Doyū
                Moved to say in this thread that there is, or was, a practice led by a now apparently inactive site called Extinction Witness -- I know the young woman who began this but we have fallen out of touch -- of performing an annual ceremony at or near US Thanksgiving of striking ("inviting" as Thich Nhat Hanh would rather put it) 108 bells as invoking thoughts of atonement toward all species made extinct by human activity. Metta for the dodo, so to speak. Haven't heard of a date for this year and, wishing to keep it up, I did the 108 bells and nine bows before the altar after morning service today, with a Verse of Atonement, for all extinct species. _()_

                For Thanksgiving the family has taken up the practice of reciting the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, which the Haudenosaunee have encouraged other peoples to consider and recite, and which I think goes a long way toward moderating our attitude toward foods, as it implies more than "enough" may be somewhat disrespectful toward the earth and other creatures. Regardless of the varying political and science-based (or otherwise) views of family members, this seems to pull us thoughtfully together, at least for the day.

                gassho
                doyu sat today



                Doshin
                St

                Comment

                • Jakuden
                  Member
                  • Jun 2015
                  • 6142

                  #23
                  Originally posted by Doyū
                  Moved to say in this thread that there is, or was, a practice led by a now apparently inactive site called Extinction Witness -- I know the young woman who began this but we have fallen out of touch -- of performing an annual ceremony at or near US Thanksgiving of striking ("inviting" as Thich Nhat Hanh would rather put it) 108 bells as invoking thoughts of atonement toward all species made extinct by human activity. Metta for the dodo, so to speak. Haven't heard of a date for this year and, wishing to keep it up, I did the 108 bells and nine bows before the altar after morning service today, with a Verse of Atonement, for all extinct species. _()_

                  For Thanksgiving the family has taken up the practice of reciting the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, which the Haudenosaunee have encouraged other peoples to consider and recite, and which I think goes a long way toward moderating our attitude toward foods, as it implies more than "enough" may be somewhat disrespectful toward the earth and other creatures. Regardless of the varying political and science-based (or otherwise) views of family members, this seems to pull us thoughtfully together, at least for the day.

                  gassho
                  doyu sat today
                  That's beautiful, it's like a Mohawk Sutra. I think I will print it out for rereading.

                  Gassho,
                  Jakuden
                  SatToday/LAH

                  Comment

                  • Meitou
                    Member
                    • Feb 2017
                    • 1656

                    #24
                    Originally posted by Doyū
                    Moved to say in this thread that there is, or was, a practice led by a now apparently inactive site called Extinction Witness -- I know the young woman who began this but we have fallen out of touch -- of performing an annual ceremony at or near US Thanksgiving of striking ("inviting" as Thich Nhat Hanh would rather put it) 108 bells as invoking thoughts of atonement toward all species made extinct by human activity. Metta for the dodo, so to speak. Haven't heard of a date for this year and, wishing to keep it up, I did the 108 bells and nine bows before the altar after morning service today, with a Verse of Atonement, for all extinct species. _()_

                    For Thanksgiving the family has taken up the practice of reciting the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, which the Haudenosaunee have encouraged other peoples to consider and recite, and which I think goes a long way toward moderating our attitude toward foods, as it implies more than "enough" may be somewhat disrespectful toward the earth and other creatures. Regardless of the varying political and science-based (or otherwise) views of family members, this seems to pull us thoughtfully together, at least for the day.

                    gassho
                    doyu sat today
                    Although we don't have Thanksgiving in Europe, I always think it's one of those holidays that we could all do with adopting, adapting it to our own particular cultures - practising gratitude is something that would be so beneficial to us all. I've noted that often those who appear to have the least to be thankful for are often the ones who express real gratitude for what they do have. I marked the day last year, and will do so again this year. This Thanksgiving Address is really beautiful, I love it and thank you for posting.

                    As part of a short course I'm doing, I have finally started the David Loy book that we were talking about above - and as you say Daitetsu, the opening chapters are upsetting and could feel overwhelming, but what really moved me is how David connects climate action awareness directly to Buddhist practice - I love that I'm reading words that reflect exactly how I feel about this, and it's actually inspiring me rather than overwhelming me with anger or grief.
                    Out of interest, this is the course I'm doing http://www.dearearth.co.uk/fordearearth/. It's run by Satya Robyn, a Facebook friend and priest in David Brazier's Amida Pureland Buddhist movement in the UK. Satya is actively engaged in climate activism, and was recently arrested during a demonstration in London on behalf of Extinction Rebellion's interfaith group. She runs the Extinction Rebellion Buddhist group on Facebook. It's a gentle, reflective course which is helping me gain perspective on appropriate responses to the climate crisis. Although not specifically aimed at Buddhists, Satya speaks with an open heart from a Buddhist perspective.

                    Gassho
                    Meitou
                    sattodaylah
                    命 Mei - life
                    島 Tou - island

                    Comment

                    • Daitetsu
                      Member
                      • Oct 2012
                      • 1145

                      #25
                      Hi Meitou,

                      Originally posted by Meitou
                      I have finally started the David Loy book that we were talking about above - and as you say Daitetsu, the opening chapters are upsetting and could feel overwhelming, but what really moved me is how David connects climate action awareness directly to Buddhist practice [ ... ]
                      Yes, I liked that as well. David shows a way how to deal with the situation and what one as an individual can do.
                      I think it was necessary for him to show the bleak reality in the beginning chapters, so everyone knows what is at stake - entire life on earth.

                      Thank you so much for sharing the link to the course - will definitely have a look!

                      Gassho,

                      Daitetsu

                      #sat2day
                      no thing needs to be added

                      Comment

                      • Jundo
                        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                        • Apr 2006
                        • 39455

                        #26
                        This just in ...

                        The concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has reached a record high, according to a newly released report from the World Meteorological Organization.

                        In 2018, global average concentrations of the greenhouse gas, which is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, reached 407.8 parts per million, which means for every 1 million molecules of gas in the atmosphere, nearly 408 were carbon dioxide. This level is up from the global average of 405.5 parts per million in 2017. The findings follow a trend that shows the planet is continuing to warm at an alarming pace.

                        “There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

                        Carbon dioxide traps heat from the sun and can linger in the atmosphere for centuries. High levels of the greenhouse gas are associated with higher global temperatures and other effects of climate change, such as melting polar ice and rising seas.


                        Gassho, J

                        STLah
                        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                        Comment

                        • Doshin
                          Member
                          • May 2015
                          • 2644

                          #27
                          Meitou I have been following the course. Thanks for the lead to Extinction Rebellion Buddhist FB group. Domyo of Bright Way Zen also participated in a protest in Oregon, US last week and I believe she and others were arrested as well.

                          Gassho
                          Doshin
                          st

                          Comment

                          • Meitou
                            Member
                            • Feb 2017
                            • 1656

                            #28
                            I'm currently supporting this initiative - a 40 day prayer and meditation vigil for the Earth, which is an interfaith action put together by various Extinction Rebellion faith groups. People are sitting in vigil outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster in London - 24/7 - no mean feat at this time of year!
                            I can't be with them physically unfortunately, so I am dedicating my sitting practice to them as a form of support. I hesitate to say 'dedicating' because that sounds a bit like when people say they are dedicating 'Merit' to various situations, something I don't actually buy into and which, along with ideas about karma, was instrumental in me shifting from Tibetan Buddhism to Zen.
                            Also when I started, I had to find a way to relate my sitting to this support but without introducing an objective into zazen or creating a conflict of interest. All I did was - nothing! I stay aware and alert, perhaps a bit more aware of my body touching the earth and being supported by it, more conscious of the sounds of the world around me.
                            To my suprise I've found that something has shifted in my sitting, almost as if checking back with myself that what I am doing isn't conflicting with zazen actually freed up something in the zazen - I wonder now if in the past, I have actually been holding the idea that ' I am sitting zazen', and that has dissolved away. I am also able to sit longer - I will admit that after about 20 minutes sitting I often get fidgety, my mind agitates, bits of me, usually my back and thighs, start hurting. This has also changed and I'm now sitting 30 minutes minimum usually twice a day.
                            The people doing this are fabulous, giving up time, sitting through the night, sometimes all alone for 8 hours, middle of London, all weathers. Today they were joined by Lord Rowan Williams, ex Archbishop of Canterbury and all round good guy.
                            Here's a bit of info, I've also created an Insight Timer group, just to keep a record of what I'm doing...

                            Log into Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family, and people you know.


                            United in fierce love for our sacred Earth, we invite you to join us for a multi faith prayer and meditation vigil.


                            This multi-faith vigil is inspired by the Christian season of Lent - traditionally a time of reflection, preparation and growth, a time when we acknowledge our failings and resolve to do better. Members of all faith communities of the Extinction Rebellion Faith Bridge will come together in Parliament Square to protest and bear witness to the urgent need to end our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.

                            We will come together with humility and compassion in lament for the climate and ecological crisis and to pray for our leaders and representatives to find in themselves the courage to take the urgent action that is necessary to protect our fragile and wounded world.

                            This vigil will be beautiful in its simplicity and powerful in its intent – to come together as people from various faith communities, and sit together in our grief and our deep love for our planet.


                            Gassho
                            Meitou
                            sattodaylah
                            命 Mei - life
                            島 Tou - island

                            Comment

                            • Doshin
                              Member
                              • May 2015
                              • 2644

                              #29


                              Doshin
                              St

                              Comment

                              • Tai Do
                                Member
                                • Jan 2019
                                • 1385

                                #30
                                Thank you, Meitou. Like you, I am very skeptical about things like karma, rebirth and merit. But I will dedicate my sittings to Earth and all sentient and not so sentient living beings of this planet and leave the question of transfer of merit for emptiness.
                                Gassho,
                                Mateus
                                Sat today/LAH
                                怠努 (Tai Do) - Lazy Effort
                                (also known as Mateus )

                                禅戒一如 (Zen Kai Ichi Nyo) - Zazen and the Precepts are One!

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