from The Avatamsaka Sutra

· Articles & Essays · ,

translated by Thomas Cleary

As in all worlds
All the solid elements
Have no independent existence
Yet are found everywhere,
So also does the Buddha-body
Pervade all worlds,
Its various physical forms
Without abode or origin.

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Photo by Zach Dischner

Imagining Earth

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by Geneen Marie Haugen

If we approached rivers, mountains, dragonflies, redwoods, and reptiles as if all are alive, intelligent, suffused with soul, imagination, and purpose, what might the world become? Who would we become if we participated intentionally with such an animate Earth? Would the world quicken with life if we taught our children—and ourselves!—to sing and celebrate the stories embedded in the body of Earth, in the granite bones of mountains and rainy sky tears, in trembling volcanic bellies and green scented hills? What if we apprehended that by nourishing the land and creatures with generous praise and gratitude, with our remembrance or tears, we rejuvenate our own relationship with the wild Earth, and possibly revitalize the anima mundi—or soul of the world?

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Photo by Claus Tom Christensen

Dependent Arising

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by Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen

At the end of your analysis it may seem as though no conventional realities or phenomena exist, including the law of karmic actions and results. However, they do exist—they just don’t exist in the way that you thought they did. They exist dependently, that is, their existence depends upon certain causes and conditions. Therefore, we say that phenomena are “dependently arising.” All the teachings of Buddha are based upon the principle of the view of dependent arising. As Lama Tsong Khapa states in his Three Principal Paths, “it eliminates the extreme of eternalism.”

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I’m Learning Nothing This Night

· Poems · ,

by Reginald Dwayne Betts

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Photo by Dave Wilson

Organizing for Survival

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by Wen Stephenson

The struggle for climate justice is a struggle at the crossroads of historic and present injustices and a looming disaster that will prove to be, if allowed to unfold unchecked, the mother of all injustices. Because the disaster that is unfolding now will not only compound the suffering of those already oppressed (indeed, is already compounding it); it may very well foreclose any hope of economic stability and social justice for current and future generations.

Why, then, does the term “climate justice” barely register in the American conversation about climate change? Lurking in that question is a tension at the heart of the climate struggle: a tension between the “mainstream” climate movement (dominated by largely white, well-funded, and Washington-focused green NGOs) and those—most often people of color—who have been fighting for social and environmental justice for decades.

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Photo by Paul Gorbould

Welcome to the Anthropocene

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by Elizabeth Kolbert

Over the years, a number of different names have been suggested for the new age that humans have ushered in. The noted conservation biologist Michael Soulé has suggested that instead of the Cenozoic, we now live in the “Catastrophozoic” era. Michael Samways, an entomologist at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University, has floated the term “Homogenocene.” Daniel Pauly, a Canadian marine biologist, has proposed the “Myxocene,” from the Greek word for “slime,” and Andrew Revkin, an American journalist, has offered the “Anthrocene.” (Most of these terms owe their origins, indirectly at least, to Lyell, who, back in the eighteen-thirties, coined the words Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene.)

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Photo by NASA

The Earth Breathes

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by Lewis Thomas

Viewed from the distance of the moon, the astonishing thing about earth, catching the breath, is that it is alive. The photographs show the dry, pounded surface of the moon in the foreground, dead as an old bone. Aloft, floating free beneath the moist, gleaming membrane of bright blue sky, is the rising earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos. If you could look long enough, you would see the swirling of the great drifts of white cloud, covering and uncovering the half-hidden masses of land. If you had been looking for a very long, geologic time, you could have seen the continents themselves in motion, drifting apart on their crustal plates, held afloat by the fire beneath. It has the organized, self-contained look of a live creature, full of information, marvelously skilled in handling the sun.

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A Map to the Next World

· Poems · ,

by Joy Harjo

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Photo by Nout Ketelaar

The Blue Jay Will Come Right Into Your Heart

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by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

All the objects of the senses
interact and yet do not.
Interacting brings involvement.
Otherwise, each keeps its place.

In the last talk I explained how people stick to ji, “things.” That is usual. The characteristic of Buddha’s teaching is to go beyond things—beyond various beings, ideas, and material things. When we say “truth,” we usually mean something we can figure out. The truth that we can figure out or think about is ji. When we go beyond subjective and objective worlds, we come to the understanding of the oneness of everything, the oneness of subjectivity and objectivity, the oneness of inside and outside.

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Photo by Kris Krug

Love Will Save this Place

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by Naomi Klein

On a drizzly British Columbia day in April 2012, a twenty-seven-seat turboprop plane landed at the Bella Bella airport, which consists of a single landing strip leading to a clapboard building. The passengers descending from the blue-and-white Pacific Coastal aircraft included the three members of a review panel created by the Canadian government. They had made the 480-kilometer journey from Vancouver to this remote island community, a place of deep fjords and lush evergreen forests reaching to the sea, to hold public hearings about one of the most contentious new pieces of fossil fuel infrastructure in North America: Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

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