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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Breaking Open The Loving Heart

Breaking Open the Loving Heart

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays · ,

by Sharon Salzberg

The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.
                                   —The Buddha

It is only due to our concepts that we feel separate from the world. We are isolated by ideas of inadequacy, ideas of danger, ideas of loneliness, and ideas of rejection. While we may indeed face external difficulties, our thoughts can amplify them—or even create them, leading us deeper into delusion. If we do not want to be enslaved by our thoughts, we can choose to transform our minds. In any given moment, do I choose to strengthen the delusion of separation or the truth of connection?

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View with a Grain of Sand

· Creative Expression, Essays · ,

by Wislawa Szymborska

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Photo by Ryan Alexander

A Way of Looking

· Earth Initiative, Essays · ,

by Stephanie Kaza

This morning I rose early to speak with a tree that didn’t know it was going to die today. The tree was a backyard elm that shaded the southwestern corner of my mother’s new house in Portland, Oregon. Planted forty years ago when the development went in, this suburban tree was not part of any fragmented forest. It was planted as a horticultural decoration and visual barrier between neighbors’ yards. With drooping, spreading branches, the tree dominated the property and acted as guardian for the backyard.

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Photo by Dako Huang

What Hangs on Trees

· Earth Initiative, Essays · ,

by Glenis Redmond

I am simultaneously enchanted and haunted by trees.

As a child, I was a tomboyish tree-climbing tree lover—a daydreamer held in mahogany arms. If I went missing, my family knew where to find me: perched on a branch, peering up into the sky or speculating about the world below. Then, I did not know the word sacred, but I sensed the meaning, especially sheltered from the world by a dome of emerald leaves. It was the one place where I felt the most whole. I experienced an inexplicable kinship with trees, which is probably why I developed an insatiable curiosity to learn their names: maple, pine, birch, willow… Live oaks were my trees of choice.

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From ‘Cultivating the Empty Field’

· Essays · ,

by Honghzhi Zhengjue

Investigating Wonder

In clarity the wonder exists, with spiritual energy shining on its own. It cannot be grasped and so cannot be called being. It cannot be rubbed away and so cannot be called nonbeing. Beyond the mind of deliberation and discussion, depart from the remains of the shadowy images.

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Photo by Ariel Ophelia

The Dirty Life

· Earth Initiative, Essays · ,

by Kristin Kimball

By the end of April our first seeds were well up, in rows of soil-filled flats on the farmhouse’s sunny, glassed-in porch. We’d planted the onions between sap runs in March, and now we had ten thousand small, green, bladelike sprouts striving to grow. Leeks came next, and then herbs, broccoli, pepper, tomato, flowers, lettuce—five types— cabbage, and kale. I’d begun to understand what farm scale meant. Seeding was like running a small, muddy factory. The potting soil we used came in a one-ton sack (“If it weighs a ton,” my friend Alexis said when she heard this, “can you still call it a sack?”).

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Photo By Joshua Ganderson

Swamp Boy

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays · ,

by Rick Bass

There was a kid we used to beat up in elementary school. We called him Swamp Boy. I say we, though I never threw any punches myself. And I never kicked him either, or broke his glasses, but I stood around and watched, so it amounted to the same thing. A brown-haired fat boy who wore bright striped shirts. He had no friends.

I was lucky enough to have friends. I was unexceptional. I did not stand out.

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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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