David Loy, Zen teacher, scholar, and prolific author, reveals his acute understanding of the crises we face today, the psychology at the root of the problems, and how we can make our way forward in this in-depth discussion. He has adopted the term ecodharma to focus attention on the challenge Buddhism faces now: integrating personal transformation with global activism and social transformation. As David points out, the focus needs to be on this world, with transcendence being a metaphorical understanding but not an excuse to abandon the problems we and our planet face today.
Besides gaining great depth of knowledge from being a scholar and student of koans, David’s insights come from a plethora of nondual experiences, which led David on a path of eco-action. Ecodharma asks: How does Buddhism need to change? How much is dwelling in emptiness becoming problematical in these challenging times? What’s best for the Earth? Everyone says practice, practice, practice…when is the performance? Is evolutionary pressure going to create a new way of living sustainably? Recorded February 22, 2020.
“When your sense of separation dissipates, it becomes not what’s in it for me, but what can I do to help make this a better world for everybody?”
Note: Regrettably 4 minutes of the recording were irretrievably lost at minute 21:26, but thankfully, the recording resumes just as Roger succinctly sums up the previous minutes of conversation. Also, this podcast was recorded live and includes, at times, some extraneous noises in the background. Please excuse them — we felt the conversation was very valuable and well worth sharing with our audience. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2
- The role of technology, moving into an age of virtual reality, and the creation of supernormal stimuli (01:41)
- Ecodharma: addressing the need for a new understanding of practice and walking the bodhisattva/ecosattva path (04:37)
- Keeping “don’t know” mind in the face of the eco-crisis (09:57)
- How can Buddhism contribute to facing the critical issues of our time? (10:54)
- The Extinction Rebellion, a grassroots direct action movement (11:49)
- The election of Trump has highlighted our problems in making them worse (15:16)
- The problem of complacency (17:24)
- What signifies that one has started to walk the bodhisattva path? (19:42)
- Desire versus craving (21:26)
- Karma yoga and not being attached to the outcome (22:14)
- The cycle of withdrawal and return common to those people who have contributed the most to humankind (23:45)
- The deepest challenge of our practice is integrating the knowledge that everything is perfect, but also knowing action is needed to improve things (26:36)
- Evolutionary psychology, the evolution of religion, and what we need to do today (28:18)
- What socially engaged Buddhism has to contribute (34:02)
- The challenge of the gnostic intermediary to transmit a wisdom tradition across cultures and across time (34:59)
Resources & References – Part 2
- Edward O. Wilson, aka the Darwin of the 21st century
- Guhyapati, founder of the Eco-Dharma Centre in northeast Spain
- David Loy and Guhyapati, Remaking Our Dharma: Expanding the Scope of Ecodharma
- David Loy, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center
- David Loy, “The Bodhisattva Path in the Trump Era”
- Greta Thunberg and the School Strike for Climate
- Extinction Rebellion: Grassroots movement engaging in direct action focused on climate, species extinction, population, toxins, plastic and more
- The Bhagavad Gita
- Arnold Toynbee, A Study of World History* (abridgement by D.C. Somervell)
- Robert Thurman, first Westerner Tibetan Buddhist monk ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
- Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
- Paul Hawkins, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World*
- Wes Nisker, You Are Not Your Fault and Other Revelations*
- Roger Walsh, The Transmission of Wisdom: The Task of Gnostic Intermediaries
- David Loy, “How to Be an EcoSattva”
- David Loy, EcoDharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis*
- David Loy, co-editor, A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency*
- Full list of David’s writings: https://www.davidloy.org/writing.html
- David Loy’s website
- David Loy, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center
* As an Amazon Associate, Deep Transformation earns from qualifying purchases.
Early on, David Loy studied koans under Yamada Kōun Roshi while teaching Eastern and Western philosophy in Japan. He began to have direct experiences of nonduality, and the recognition of unity, or connection with others, led to his activism in the spheres of social justice and the eco-crisis. A scholar, professor, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Zen tradition, David brings a Buddhist perspective to the ecological crisis we face today. He points out there is an important parallel between what Buddhism says about our personal predicament and about our collective predicament in relation to the rest of the biosphere. David is also a prolific author; his latest book is Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis; and he is co-editor of A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency.
Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell
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