Posts tagged Earthen Spitituality
‘The sea and sky are our shrine room.
The natural elements are our meditation.’
Lifted from this website: http://arobuddhism.org/
I am a “Friend” of a group of Buddhists who work within the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition which in turn falls within the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism, the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Lamas and ordained teachers are Westerners and The Aro teachers are not monks or nuns. I’ll leave other interesting background to those are interested. The website cited above is an interesting and rather complete source of the essence and practice of Aro Buddhism.
The purpose of this post was not only to introduce Aro, but to reveal the first words on the home page copied above. This quote reminds me of my thoughts and writings on the subject of Earthen Spirituality. I quite happily admit that it is, to me, the alpha and omega of all that I have been trying to express over the last couple of years about an Earthen Spirituality, a spirituality that honours our beautiful and bountiful, living, loving planet Earth.
On a more personal note – after all this is a personal blog! – the local Sangha, forgive me if I am using the word incorrectly, appears to be somewhat centred around Bristol whilst Lamas, teachers, apprentices, and Friends live mainly in the Southwest of England and Wales, near my home in Devon.
A few years ago, I became acquainted with a married pair of Aro ordained teachers who have recently become Lamas. They introduced and made me aware of a local project and appeal aimed at establishing a retreat centre which I expect will be located somewhere in the Southwest or Wales. It is named Drala Jong.
Years ago, it came to me that I wished to establish a garden. In that moment, I thought it might be a “church.” Since then, it has emerged that it would be a garden dedicated to the memory of a wonderful spiritual teacher – Jean Klein. Although Jean was not a Buddhist, my reading of the insights from Aro reminded me of what I had learned from Jean and his teachings along the lines of Advaita Vedanta.
Having asked my friends if they thought the retreat centre might be open hosting the garden, I was thrilled to find that my wish could be granted. I envision a small rounded area with flowering bushes and trees, a few large stones and a bench with a small plaque containing a quote from Jean and his name inscribed. It would be a place for quiet reflection and meditation.
Recently there has been renewed energy placed on fundraising for Drala Jong. Jong means meadow and there is no direct translation for the word drala. According to Ngak’chang Rinpoche, as I understand it, Drala Jong is the ‘Sparkling Meadow of Primal Iridescence’. Rinpoche says: …drala relates to the fact that the world is not inanimate, insensate, or uncommunicative. Drala is the living ambience of the world in terms of the personality of a place.” Here again, I am reminded of what Earthen Spirituality means to me.
Synchronicity is an amazing experience for many including myself. When I was granted permission to establish the garden, I had no idea what Drala Jong meant and had not developed my understanding and interest in Earthen Spirituality. I am convinced that both Drala Jong and the little garden are both on a path with heart.
An interview with Ngak’chang Rinpoche
This is my first posting on this new blog. I hope to stimulate discussion as to what we can and what we cannot say about spirit, Earthen Spirituality and Gaia consciousness. By Gaia consciousness I mean the idea or realization that there is only one consciousness available to us as an Earthling and it is Gaia. So I suggest that our assumption that we are a separate conscious being looking out onto a separate world is an illusion. We are more ‘being lived’ than living. Now let me make it clear at the outset. Yes, we all, all creatures to an extent, have a thinking function. But, we are not our thinking function. Thinking is a tool, a wonderful tool. However, we seem to be content to eat the icing off the cake and ignore the cake. Why does that ancient text, the Hsin Hsin Ming, by the Third Chan patriarch say: “Stop thinking and there is nothing that you will not be able to understand?” Why because our thinking function is limited and is not at all in touch with our deeper reality, our deeper connection with Gaia and the creative spirit that forms the basis of life as we can experience it. The Psalms say – “Be still and know that I am God.” The word still is probably not a very accurate translation. But turning it around the other way, one can perhaps agree that we don’t engage in endless debate over the nature of God. The thinking function is totally inadequate. However, intuition is a subject for further enquiry at another time.
Please post your ideas.
Choosing accurate and meaningful words for what I am getting at is difficult because our acceptable language terminology has been determined largely by our world view. As we feel deeply into what it is to be alive; what it is to be an Earthling and learn more and more about the intelligence and wisdom of Gaia, we discover how utterly limiting our vocabulary is. What a barrier it is to thinking out of the box so to speak. Traditional science has been very little help by defining truth as that which fits into their measuring instruments and worshipping certainty as it emerges from their measurements. If phenomenon does not fit the instruments, then it is worthless and any thoughts on the subject lack certainty. I have a lot more to say about certainty. Moving on however, Let me suggest a question, a discussion item perhaps.
How would our worldview change if we saw ourselves as actually IN the planet, integrated like the roots and the trunk of a tree? An ancillary question. Is it not probable that a planet such as Gaia, has great spiritual power? The kind of power that fuels the immense diversity and creativity, not to mention the sometimes awesome, breathtaking beauty that some of us have experienced. What is the whole philosophical subject called aesthetics but simply Gaia’s loving energy?
Unfortunately, our vocabulary is limited to the accepted scientific and philosophical terminology largely determined even before the world was proven not to be square and that the sun did not circle the Earth. Don’t we still speak of sunrise and sunset? I don’t have a problem with that but does it not illustrate how we tend to hold on to outdated terminology and ways of thinking?
I have a lot more to say about how our ways of seeing the world limit our ability to learn deeper meanings and relationships.
Please post your ideas, I would really like to hear them.
I find it difficult to keep myself constantly aware that Gaia has wisdom, intelligence and a huge spiritual envelope. My concern is that we continue our destruction of other lifeforms because we don’t love the Earth. We don’t love the Earth because we have not been taught that the Earth is lovable. How much of the loveliness we feel outdoors comes to us through Gaia as a Mother being?
Spirituality and certainty, now there is a provoking subject. I recently discussed global warming with a chap at a private art and sculpture showing. The word certainty came up. Where was the certainty when it comes to global warming. I didn’t have time to develop my thoughts on this. However, when we consider that Gaia is a living being, then we should recognise that living beings simply do not conform to mathematical certainty. Consider: When your medical doctor says that he/she does not know exactly what is wrong with you but puts you on a course of medicine, do you ignore it out of hand because the diagnosis lacks certainty? When scores of research projects link smoking to cancer do you totally deny the probability because the math has no absolute certainty? Will you certainly awaken tomorrow morning? Smog in Tucson Arizona is a certainty. It wasn’t there just after World War II. Are you going to tell me that humans did not cause it? Phoenix Arizona was the place where asthmatics, hay fever sufferers and people with breathing problems were told to move to in the period before 50 years or so ago. Not now. No, for humans by the thousands sunk wells into the precious acquifer and sprinkled blue grass while farmers ploughed and watered the desert. That was called making the desert “bloom.”
Is it certain that humans caused these changes? I think so, don’t you?
Again, concern for the human interference with the manner in which Gaia maintains our health – her health is our health – is earthen Spirituality practice. One last question with this post: Can we damage the planet without damaging ourselves?