Image Courtesy of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change

How to Let Go of the World

· Earth Initiative, Reviews · ,

Media Review: How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change

Directed by Josh Fox
Premiering on HBO, June 2016

In the beginning there was dancing. But before we get to that, we need to go back even further: In the beginning there was the Marcellus, a geologic formation of black shale that dates back to the mid-Devonian age and undergirds a wide swath of mid-Atlantic Appalachian terrain. Shale traps deposits of natural gas deep underground and it was this resource that in 2008 brought energy speculators to the rural homestead of Josh Fox. Eight years later, one can only wonder if the investors now regret having knocked on that particular door.

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Photo by Wolfgang Wiggers

Udumbara Flower / Udonge

· Essays, Teachings · ,

by Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi

Why would Dogen Zenji devote an entire fascicle of the Shobogenzo to praising a flower, a flower that some people say is mythical and does not exist? Others say it does exist, but it only blooms every 3,000 years, to herald the arrival of another Buddha, an enlightened being.

In modern times there are stories and photographs from Asia, of thousands of tiny white blossoms called udumbara flowers, mysteriously appearing on bricks, on buildings, on monuments, on grasses, and under a nun’s laundry tub. Biologists say, no, these are not miraculous apparitions, they are simply the ordinary eggs of lacewing insects. Botanists counter that the udumbara is a ficus, a fig tree, different from ficus religiosa, the tree under which the Buddha was awakened.

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Photo by Martin Mutch

Born As The Earth

· Earth Initiative, Teachings · ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Koans of the Way of Reality, Case 8

Main Case
A visiting student began to ask, “The truths of the Earth continually wait. They are not so concealed either. They’re calm, subtle, untransmissible by print.”
The teacher interrupted, saying, “Stop, stop! Is that Walt Whitman’s poem?”
The student said, “Yes it is.”
The teacher said, “Those are the words that describe his reality. What is the reality itself? Show me.”

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Photo by trialsanderror

Maha-Rahulovada Sutra

· Teachings · ,

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Monastery. Then the Blessed One, early in the morning, put on his robes and, carrying his bowl and outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms. And Ven. Rahula, early in the morning, put on his robes and, carrying his bowl and outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms following right behind the Blessed One. Then the Blessed One, looking back at Rahula, addressed him: “Rahula, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’”

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Photo by Dean Morley

Bright, Dancing Aliveness

· Earth Initiative, Editorial · ,

by Suzanne Taikyo Gilman, Mountain Record Editor

Fire draws our attention with its light. The aliveness dancing in a candle flame is made from the cotton in its wick, the moisture in the candle wax, oxygen feeding its burning. I name the different parts and feel their separateness, grasping at difference. As I return to the experience of the flickering flame, I return to warmth, the light, the aliveness.

While we understand that all the elements combine to create the life of our magnificent planet, we tend to focus on the separation— between candle, wick, wax—as between what we want and what we have, between the human and the natural world. Separating our self-consciousness and our disregard for other perspectives—of people, animals, insects and even protozoa—ultimately justifies destructive acts against living beings. Feeling the distress of the earth and its creatures as deeply personal, this awareness can open up the heart to respond with genuine caring actions which are of benefit to all.

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Photo by Olli Henze

River Seeing River

· Earth Initiative, Teachings · ,

by John Daido Loori, Roshi

from Master Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra

The river is neither strong nor weak, neither wet nor dry, neither moving nor still,neither cold nor hot, neither being nor non-being, neither delusion nor enlightenment. Solidified, it is harder than diamond: who could break it? Melted, it is softer than milk: who could break it? This being the case we cannot doubt the many virtues realized by the river. We should then study that occasion when the rivers of the ten directions are seen in the ten directions. This is not a study only of the time when humans and gods see the river: there is a study of the river seeing the river. The river practices and verifies the river; hence, there is a study of the river speaking river. We must bring to realization the path on which the self encounters the self. We must move back and forth along, and spring off from, the vital path on which the other studies and fully comprehends the other.

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