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Thread: Interfaith work and Climate Strike

  1. #1

    Interfaith work and Climate Strike

    Today I took part in an interfaith service that was held at a local church, and then was followed by a climate strike march to city hall. I shared a "Prayer" that was written by one of my early teachers Sensei Fred Ulrich (Manitoba Buddhist Temple) and then chanted the Heart Sutra in Japanese. There was also the minister of the church, a local Muslim leader, folks from the Baha'i i Faith, members of a local Hindu group, as well as an Asatru Pagan priestess.

    After the service we all marched down to city hall with folks from the congregation and held a small demonstration in the courtyard.

    It was a wonderful oppertunity to share with the larger faith community and to show our support of the current environmental movement.

    Ulrich Sensei has always been heavily involved in interfaith work, and in building bridges between faith communities. I guess some of that has rubbed off on me as I really enjoy the opportunity to share with others. I also think that when tackling major social issues, we can get a lot of momentum by working together with our extended faith community.

    What experiences are you all having in your communities with the current Climate Strike movement?

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

  2. #2
    That's wonderful your community is working together and cares about the environment. This is a state university city so I imagine on campus there is action with this but in the general public here I haven't heard or seen anything at all. I have seen a lot of the opposite push though - lots of pro-coal, pro-gasline bumper stickers, the officially state coal license plates on cars (friends of coal), a push by the mayor to log the national forest the city is encased in (with no one upset over it but rather upset that the national forest service isn't permitting it yet), etc. "Coal Country" is what many people consider this place even if there is almost no people who work in coal anywhere near here, and the places that do mine coal actually don't hire that many people. It's such a misdirection when people complain about "going green costing us our jobs" - what jobs? Logging is huge industry here though. Lots of sawmills and logging companies buying up land (my father-in-law being one of them). I hate seeing so much of the forest cut down. My grandfather logged very responsibly - always cutting out trees that were about to fall and damage others, taking out the dead ones, and carefully thinning areas that ran the risk of causing other trees to die. The result is beautiful forested property left in the family that my parents own that will one day be passed on to me. Much of these companies just buy up land en masse and clear cut it, sell it again, and move on. One day we will have cut too much (if we haven't already) and we will pay for it as a species on this planet. I see more and more clear cut land year after year... I think many people know better but they just don't care what will go on one day after they are dead and gone as long as they profit now.

    I would be pretty surprised to see anyone other than university students doing any activism for the environment. I got snubbed by the current mayor/mayors office recently when I asked about her position on the logging within city limits. She is newly elected... her father owns the largest logging/sawmill company in the city/county. No one I've spoken to about that seemingly glaring bias and conflict of interest in her position even bats an eye about it - not even my wife sided with me over it. I have been really disappointed in the reactions people have had over the issue.

    There aren't any interfaith organizations locally here as far as I know. It is very homogenous here faith-wise, and there are only protestant churches and one catholic church.

    Gassho
    Kendrick
    Sat
    “Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.” ― Dōgen

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Junkyo View Post
    Today I took part in an interfaith service that was held at a local church, and then was followed by a climate strike march to city hall. I shared a "Prayer" that was written by one of my early teachers Sensei Fred Ulrich (Manitoba Buddhist Temple) and then chanted the Heart Sutra in Japanese. There was also the minister of the church, a local Muslim leader, folks from the Baha'i i Faith, members of a local Hindu group, as well as an Asatru Pagan priestess.

    After the service we all marched down to city hall with folks from the congregation and held a small demonstration in the courtyard.

    It was a wonderful oppertunity to share with the larger faith community and to show our support of the current environmental movement.

    Ulrich Sensei has always been heavily involved in interfaith work, and in building bridges between faith communities. I guess some of that has rubbed off on me as I really enjoy the opportunity to share with others. I also think that when tackling major social issues, we can get a lot of momentum by working together with our extended faith community.

    What experiences are you all having in your communities with the current Climate Strike movement?

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT
    Wow, what a great experience!

    I'm not sure if anything happened here today in my home town, as I didn't go out as I've had to run errands everyday this week and decided to have a day at home. However I was delighted to see that there has been a huge turn out all over Italy. Even more encouraging is that the Education Minister is wholeheartedly in support of school pupils having Friday off to take part in Climate Action marches and is encouraging schools to allow pupils to participate - this is a huge thing, and I was amazed and thrilled to read it. Next week I'll try to find out if anything is happening here and make every effort to take part.
    Wonderful to see so many marching worldwide again this week and even if I'm not physically taking part, I do try to support and encourage as many people as possible online. There's always something we can do to contribute.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  4. #4
    Kendrick,
    Your post breaks my heart. The folly, the shortsightedness, the greed...
    And my deep sadness that you seem alone in your efforts. Bless you for them. And know that one voice can have an impact that we might never know, but echoes on.
    A university town should have young people, whose future it is, to speak to these issues. And I hope there is some organized action. ah.. Kentucky. It's on my radar!

    Bowing

    Anne

    ~lahst~

  5. #5
    Climate change is a topic that concerns me a lot right now.

    Here in Germany the climate movement has gained momentum luckily, but even here there are people either negating it or thinking the situation is not that bad (mostly either ultraconservatives or people leading a wasteful lifestyle who see themselves threatened).

    The more you deal with the climate topic the more desparate you could become.
    However, if everyone does what they can this can have a positive ripple effect. We should not get hopeless and give up, but try to deal with the situation and possible consequences and still try to change things as good as we can.
    Most climate change deniers are under the "influence of the three poisons" and act either out of delusion (they don't know how dire the situation is), attachment (to their consumerist/wasteful way of life they would have to give up in order to change things) or aversion (they don't *want* to believe the facts).

    What can we do?
    I am still in the process of finding ways, but I try to be a good example, don't react with anger to deniers and inform others. Often there is simply a lack of information.

    Some things I do: I have been a vegetarian (the top three meat companies are responsible for more CO2 emmissions than the top three oil companies) for several years now, I use the bike or go by foot for short distances, use train or bus for middle range distances, drive a hybrid car that loads its batteries by kinetic energy (e.g. whenever the brakes are used), reduce plastic waste, I go to a local farm to get vegetables/fruit, I try to buy mostly regional products, reduce the usage of the heating system in winter (even one degree °C room temperature less has an effect), speak with other people. These are things everyone can try to do - we don't have to be 100% perfect, every effort counts.
    However, at the same time, we should try to increase the pressure on politicians, so they finally act.

    I can recommend David Loy's book "Ecodharma" about this topic.
    Yesterday I began reading "Active Hope" by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (David Loy referred to it in his book).

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day


    PS: I think interfaith work is the way to go - making this "a Buddhist thing" would lead to more aversion (esp. in religious countries like the US). If everyone is included, there could be a great chance.
    Last edited by Daitetsu; 10-06-2019 at 11:09 AM.
    no thing needs to be added

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    Climate change is a topic that concerns me a lot right now.

    Here in Germany the climate movement has gained momentum luckily, but even here there are people either negating it or thinking the situation is not that bad (mostly either ultraconservatives or people leading a wasteful lifestyle who see themselves threatened).

    The more you deal with the climate topic the more desparate you could become.
    However, if everyone does what they can this can have a positive ripple effect. We should not get hopeless and give up, but try to deal with the situation and possible consequences and still try to change things as good as we can.
    Most climate change deniers are under the "influence of the three poisons" and act either out of delusion (they don't know how dire the situation is), attachment (to their consumerist/wasteful way of life they would have to give up in order to change things) or aversion (they don't *want* to believe the facts).

    What can we do?
    I am still in the process of finding ways, but I try to be a good example, don't react with anger to deniers and inform others. Often there is simply a lack of information.

    Some things I do: I have been a vegetarian (the top three meat companies are responsible for more CO2 emmissions than the top three oil companies) for several years now, I use the bike or go by foot for short distances, use train or bus for middle range distances, drive a hybrid car that loads its batteries by kinetic energy (e.g. whenever the brakes are used), reduce plastic waste, I go to a local farm to get vegetables/fruit, I try to buy mostly regional products, reduce the usage of the heating system in winter (even one degree °C room temperature less has an effect), speak with other people. These are things everyone can try to do - we don't have to be 100% perfect, every effort counts.
    However, at the same time, we should try to increase the pressure on politicians, so they finally act.

    I can recommend David Loy's book "Ecodharma" about this topic.
    Yesterday I began reading "Active Hope" by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (David Loy referred to it in his book).

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day


    PS: I think interfaith work is the way to go - making this "a Buddhist thing" would lead to more aversion (esp. in religious countries like the US). If everyone is included, there could be a great chance.
    Great work Daitetsu!
    I have the David Loy book but haven't started it yet as I've just started 'Green Buddhism' by Stephanie Kaza.
    I agree with you about the Interfaith initiative - I don't know how it is in the rest of the world, but climate action has fallen prey, like everything else at the moment, to divisiveness and politicisation, so anything that brings people together across any kind of bounday is good in my opinion.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  7. #7
    Hi Daitetsu!

    Thanks for your post! I am always encouraged by reading about others efforts!

    A little update here. Since the Multi-faith service went very well and was well received here locally, myself and a number of other leaders from local faith groups (Churches, Mosques, Temples etc.) have decided to begin working together and create an Interfaith Council to build some bridges between our communities and allow us to find ways to have a greater positive impact on our community.

    I am looking forward to seeing this project come together and help bring our various communities (both cultural and faith) together. I think we will have a stronger overall community and be more effective in tackling some of our city's many issues.

    I will keep posting some updates as we progress, perhaps it will help others to do similar things in their communities.

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Junkyo View Post
    Hi Daitetsu!

    Thanks for your post! I am always encouraged by reading about others efforts!

    A little update here. Since the Multi-faith service went very well and was well received here locally, myself and a number of other leaders from local faith groups (Churches, Mosques, Temples etc.) have decided to begin working together and create an Interfaith Council to build some bridges between our communities and allow us to find ways to have a greater positive impact on our community.

    I am looking forward to seeing this project come together and help bring our various communities (both cultural and faith) together. I think we will have a stronger overall community and be more effective in tackling some of our city's many issues.

    I will keep posting some updates as we progress, perhaps it will help others to do similar things in their communities.

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT
    Inspiring!

    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  9. #9
    Hello Meitou!

    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    I have the David Loy book but haven't started it yet as I've just started 'Green Buddhism' by Stephanie Kaza.
    Loy's book can be quite depressing at the beginning when he lists all the facts, how bad the situation really is (I used to think it is 5 minutes to midnight, but actually it is either one minute to midnight or even already too late), but then he shows a great way how to deal with this and how to act without falling into despair. And he appeals to all Buddhists to work together on this, since there is really an urgent need to act.

    Thank you for mentioning Stephanie Kaza's book - will put it on my reading list!

    @Junkyo:
    Looking forward to your updates. What you have reported so far gives me some hope.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day
    no thing needs to be added

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    Hello Meitou!



    Loy's book can be quite depressing at the beginning when he lists all the facts, how bad the situation really is (I used to think it is 5 minutes to midnight, but actually it is either one minute to midnight or even already too late), but then he shows a great way how to deal with this and how to act without falling into despair. And he appeals to all Buddhists to work together on this, since there is really an urgent need to act.

    Thank you for mentioning Stephanie Kaza's book - will put it on my reading list!

    @Junkyo:
    Looking forward to your updates. What you have reported so far gives me some hope.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day

    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  11. #11
    Thanks to all of you for your concern and efforts.



    Doshin
    St

  12. #12
    Doshin this is not an attack on you by any means; I just wanted to respond to this with something that I see in Zen, and it bothers me.

    I'm sick of "concern". Everyone's concerned. Concern does nothing; it helps nothing. Concern allows us to feel self-satisfied that we are doing something. People think that protesting or getting outraged is doing something; it's not. Action is action. Save the concern and do something. But before you can act, you need to know what you are doing; otherwise we are just sleepwalking.

    I'm catching up on the Realizing Genjokoan readings, and early on in the Genjokoan, Dogen says something that is one of my favorite things he's ever written:

    Conveying oneself toward all things to carry out practice-enlightenment is delusion. All things coming and carrying out practice-enlightenment through the self is realization.
    Proselytizing Zen - telling people to wake up and so on is delusion. Telling ourselves - actually living out those things - is enlightenment.

    We have to be the change we want to see as Gandhi so accurately stated.

    American Buddhism I feel has been politically appropriated. Zen should never be used as a wrapper for some sort of belief or political agenda. I'm getting sick and tired of engaged Buddhism and this idea of Zen Buddhists having to feel or believe something and take action.

    These problems are so much bigger than any of us, and this is not the point of Zen.

    In any case, I understand the intent; I understand that everyone wants to do good, but what turns me off about Loy and so many of these "eco-Buddhists" and engaged Buddhists is that they are taking a stand on something and trying to reify that stance with the Dharma. That's the opposite of what Zen should be. Zen is and always has been a path to understand our true place in this universe; all these other things are just a distraction even if they are painted and justified in all sorts of ways.

    Instead of telling others how to wake up and live - we need to turn the light inward and follow our own teachings. Be an example, don't preach the example.

    I know I know I'm totally ranting, and I'm not judging anyone's practice; that's where it gets complicated; I mean after you've done this a while you know your practice.

    I am criticizing the state of Western Buddhism; Zen isn't supposed to be about replacing one set of ideologies with another. Sure in the beginning, fake it til you make it, but you need to dig under the layers of all ideologies - not be given new ones.

    So while I think acting against climate change, once we actually stop freaking the f out and exaggerating things, take a measured look and see how we really can fix this, then we act. That measured response is what we learn here.

    In any case - the same ideological crap happens with vegetariansm, and that's why I had to stop reading simple living. I mean the assumption that eating vegetables one day is better for you than meat and also simpler. Give me a break. You are better off fasting - now I'd get behind that. But that's not Buddhism, so it's still irrelevant!

    And that's what I'm criticizing; I don't want Zen to become Disney or "Whole Foods" Zen; that's what we have here.

    Now I could go into the science of why meat is better nutritionally; ethics is an unmeasurable and vitally important thing; I can't argue anyone and I wouldn't try

    And that's the exact point. Nutritional ideology doesn't belong in Zen either.

    I know this is obvious but nature isn't the disney channel, and we are apex predators.

    In any case, you don't need to hear me telling you that. Think how taken aback you would be if "Simple Living" said for one day a week I want you to all eat carnivore. In reality that is probably the most healthy option; I know paradigms are hard to break and established nutritional guidelines say otherwise.

    But heres' the deal - you should tell me shut my trap; you came here to practice not talk about nutrition science.

    And that's exactly how we should treat any ideology that masks itself into being some sort of Buddhist teaching, even when that is some sort of political belief, agenda or nutritional religion that seems true.

    I'm sorry - I'm not hear to be indoctrinized. And I don't want any nonsense creeping itself in. I'm here to understand and see through all my assumptions and beliefs, and any so-called Zen teacher that doesn't point us toward ourself and wants to give us a belief needs to re-evaluate their calling.

    If we don't get to the bottom of ourselves and really practice, none of this matters - we are just robots parroting people; our rakusu just becomes another costume to make us feel special. This is not special.

    I leave you with Ikkyu- and I promise I'm done lol

    I Hate Incense

    A master’s handiwork cannot be measured
    But still priests wag their tongues explaining the “Way” and babbling about “Zen.”
    This old monk has never cared for false piety
    And my nose wrinkles at the dark smell of incense before the Buddha.
    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    Last edited by Risho; 10-26-2019 at 07:41 PM.

  13. #13
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Doshin this is not an attack on you by any means; I just wanted to respond to this with something that I see in Zen, and it bothers me.

    I'm sick of "concern". Everyone's concerned. Concern does nothing; it helps nothing. Concern allows us to feel self-satisfied that we are doing something. People think that protesting or getting outraged is doing something; it's not. Action is action. Save the concern and do something. But before you can act, you need to know what you are doing; otherwise we are just sleepwalking.

    I'm catching up on the Realizing Genjokoan readings, and early on in the Genjokoan, Dogen says something that is one of my favorite things he's ever written:



    Proselytizing Zen - telling people to wake up and so on is delusion. Telling ourselves - actually living out those things - is enlightenment.

    We have to be the change we want to see as Gandhi so accurately stated.

    American Buddhism I feel has been politically appropriated. Zen should never be used as a wrapper for some sort of belief or political agenda. I'm getting sick and tired of engaged Buddhism and this idea of Zen Buddhists having to feel or believe something and take action.

    These problems are so much bigger than any of us, and this is not the point of Zen.

    In any case, I understand the intent; I understand that everyone wants to do good, but what turns me off about Loy and so many of these "eco-Buddhists" and engaged Buddhists is that they are taking a stand on something and trying to reify that stance with the Dharma. That's the opposite of what Zen should be. Zen is and always has been a path to understand our true place in this universe; all these other things are just a distraction even if they are painted and justified in all sorts of ways.

    Instead of telling others how to wake up and live - we need to turn the light inward and follow our own teachings. Be an example, don't preach the example.

    I know I know I'm totally ranting, and I'm not judging anyone's practice; that's where it gets complicated; I mean after you've done this a while you know your practice.

    I am criticizing the state of Western Buddhism; Zen isn't supposed to be about replacing one set of ideologies with another. Sure in the beginning, fake it til you make it, but you need to dig under the layers of all ideologies - not be given new ones.

    So while I think acting against climate change, once we actually stop freaking the f out and exaggerating things, take a measured look and see how we really can fix this, then we act. That measured response is what we learn here.

    In any case - the same ideological crap happens with vegetariansm, and that's why I had to stop reading simple living. I mean the assumption that eating vegetables one day is better for you than meat and also simpler. Give me a break. You are better off fasting - now I'd get behind that. But that's not Buddhism, so it's still irrelevant!

    And that's what I'm criticizing; I don't want Zen to become Disney or "Whole Foods" Zen; that's what we have here.

    Now I could go into the science of why meat is better nutritionally; ethics is an unmeasurable and vitally important thing; I can't argue anyone and I wouldn't try

    And that's the exact point. Nutritional ideology doesn't belong in Zen either.

    I know this is obvious but nature isn't the disney channel, and we are apex predators.

    In any case, you don't need to hear me telling you that. Think how taken aback you would be if "Simple Living" said for one day a week I want you to all eat carnivore. In reality that is probably the most healthy option; I know paradigms are hard to break and established nutritional guidelines say otherwise.

    But heres' the deal - you should tell me shut my trap; you came here to practice not talk about nutrition science.

    And that's exactly how we should treat any ideology that masks itself into being some sort of Buddhist teaching, even when that is some sort of political belief, agenda or nutritional religion that seems true.

    I'm sorry - I'm not hear to be indoctrinized. And I don't want any nonsense creeping itself in. I'm here to understand and see through all my assumptions and beliefs, and any so-called Zen teacher that doesn't point us toward ourself and wants to give us a belief needs to re-evaluate their calling.

    If we don't get to the bottom of ourselves and really practice, none of this matters - we are just robots parroting people; our rakusu just becomes another costume to make us feel special. This is not special.

    I leave you with Ikkyu- and I promise I'm done lol



    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    I like the vast majority of what you've written here Risho.
    I particularly like the bits where you say things akin to don't give an example, be the example.
    This is how I've always approached anything I've done or been involved in. Whether Veganism, Anarchism, Anti-Fascism or Unionism instead of talking about stuff or writing about stuff I did stuff.
    A lot of the stuff I did over the years was on my own because I couldn't find people that actually wanted to do instead of talk about or have meetings about or care about etc.
    For the record Risho I think most Vegans, Anarchists, Anti-Fascists and Unionists are just liberals playing at being radical and actually do eff all to change anything aside from pointless posturing.
    I don't necessarily think that engaged Buddhism, whatever that is, is necessarily a bad thing unless like you say, it becomes a vehicle to push an agenda kinda like fundamentalist Christian preachers telling their flock how to vote.
    If it is about awareness making of various things such as climate change and is framed in a way that suggests that we aren't separate from our lived environment then fine, but hand wringing and talking will do little to change anything.

    Edit: I must admit though that we should do what we can, how we can, when we can, and with what we can and if that means bringing awareness to our interconnectedness with everything then that's a valuable contribution to life. It seems from reading above that I still harbour some bitterness about stuff.

    Gassho
    Anna
    st

    Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Anna; 10-26-2019 at 09:53 PM.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Doshin this is not an attack on you by any means; I just wanted to respond to this with something that I see in Zen, and it bothers me.

    I'm sick of "concern". Everyone's concerned. Concern does nothing; it helps nothing. Concern allows us to feel self-satisfied that we are doing something. People think that protesting or getting outraged is doing something; it's not. Action is action. Save the concern and do something. But before you can act, you need to know what you are doing; otherwise we are just sleepwalking.

    I'm catching up on the Realizing Genjokoan readings, and early on in the Genjokoan, Dogen says something that is one of my favorite things he's ever written:



    Proselytizing Zen - telling people to wake up and so on is delusion. Telling ourselves - actually living out those things - is enlightenment.

    We have to be the change we want to see as Gandhi so accurately stated.

    American Buddhism I feel has been politically appropriated. Zen should never be used as a wrapper for some sort of belief or political agenda. I'm getting sick and tired of engaged Buddhism and this idea of Zen Buddhists having to feel or believe something and take action.

    These problems are so much bigger than any of us, and this is not the point of Zen.

    In any case, I understand the intent; I understand that everyone wants to do good, but what turns me off about Loy and so many of these "eco-Buddhists" and engaged Buddhists is that they are taking a stand on something and trying to reify that stance with the Dharma. That's the opposite of what Zen should be. Zen is and always has been a path to understand our true place in this universe; all these other things are just a distraction even if they are painted and justified in all sorts of ways.

    Instead of telling others how to wake up and live - we need to turn the light inward and follow our own teachings. Be an example, don't preach the example.

    I know I know I'm totally ranting, and I'm not judging anyone's practice; that's where it gets complicated; I mean after you've done this a while you know your practice.

    I am criticizing the state of Western Buddhism; Zen isn't supposed to be about replacing one set of ideologies with another. Sure in the beginning, fake it til you make it, but you need to dig under the layers of all ideologies - not be given new ones.

    So while I think acting against climate change, once we actually stop freaking the f out and exaggerating things, take a measured look and see how we really can fix this, then we act. That measured response is what we learn here.

    In any case - the same ideological crap happens with vegetariansm, and that's why I had to stop reading simple living. I mean the assumption that eating vegetables one day is better for you than meat and also simpler. Give me a break. You are better off fasting - now I'd get behind that. But that's not Buddhism, so it's still irrelevant!

    And that's what I'm criticizing; I don't want Zen to become Disney or "Whole Foods" Zen; that's what we have here.

    Now I could go into the science of why meat is better nutritionally; ethics is an unmeasurable and vitally important thing; I can't argue anyone and I wouldn't try

    And that's the exact point. Nutritional ideology doesn't belong in Zen either.

    I know this is obvious but nature isn't the disney channel, and we are apex predators.

    In any case, you don't need to hear me telling you that. Think how taken aback you would be if "Simple Living" said for one day a week I want you to all eat carnivore. In reality that is probably the most healthy option; I know paradigms are hard to break and established nutritional guidelines say otherwise.

    But heres' the deal - you should tell me shut my trap; you came here to practice not talk about nutrition science.

    And that's exactly how we should treat any ideology that masks itself into being some sort of Buddhist teaching, even when that is some sort of political belief, agenda or nutritional religion that seems true.

    I'm sorry - I'm not hear to be indoctrinized. And I don't want any nonsense creeping itself in. I'm here to understand and see through all my assumptions and beliefs, and any so-called Zen teacher that doesn't point us toward ourself and wants to give us a belief needs to re-evaluate their calling.

    If we don't get to the bottom of ourselves and really practice, none of this matters - we are just robots parroting people; our rakusu just becomes another costume to make us feel special. This is not special.

    I leave you with Ikkyu- and I promise I'm done lol



    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    I am sorry that you are so offended by those of us who feel and believe in something, by engaged Buddhism, by those of us who choose not to eat meat, by our politics, by our virtual signalling, by our living our lives as we choose and by who you deem to be so-called Zen teachers.
    May you be at peace, embracing all conditions of life, including those that offend you.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  15. #15
    Hi Risho,

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    I'm sick of "concern". Everyone's concerned. Concern does nothing; it helps nothing.
    I disagree.
    First: IMHO we are still not concerned enough when it comes to the state of our planet. When you really study the facts and numbers (not the news on TV which are "softened"), you come to the conclusion that the situation is dire.
    Second: When we feel concerned, when we see how serious things are, then we can act from a foundation. We can act without being concerned with the result. We act because we think it is right.


    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    American Buddhism I feel has been politically appropriated. Zen should never be used as a wrapper for some sort of belief or political agenda.
    I also think that Buddhism should not be political. However, the problem is that many people seem to think that environmental issues have something to do with a political opinion!
    This is not about politics, it's about the survival of living beings.


    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    I'm getting sick and tired of engaged Buddhism and this idea of Zen Buddhists having to feel or believe something and take action.
    If you think that climate change is something that you can choose to believe in or not then you don't know the scientific facts and measurements.


    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    These problems are so much bigger than any of us, and this is not the point of Zen.
    What about "to save all sentient beings"? How can one person try to save all sentient beings? And yet, we vow to try it!
    The task of saving all sentient beings is monumental, but that is the very point! Because we try to save them nevertheless, regardless of the result. It's about trying the impossible without feeling attached to the result.



    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Instead of telling others how to wake up and live - we need to turn the light inward and follow our own teachings. Be an example, don't preach the example.
    For me Buddhism is more than just engaging in navel-gazing.
    Dogen and the old masters were people of their time. They wrote their texts in a time in which they did not face a disaster on a global scale.


    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    I am criticizing the state of Western Buddhism; Zen isn't supposed to be about replacing one set of ideologies with another.
    Climate change is real. It is supported by science, findings, measurements everywhere in the world. It is not an ideology.
    I have the impression you think that climate change is just a hypothesis that might also be wrong...



    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    So while I think acting against climate change, once we actually stop freaking the f out and exaggerating things, take a measured look and see how we really can fix this, then we act.
    Who is exaggerating what? What do you refer to?



    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Nutritional ideology doesn't belong in Zen either.
    The top three meat production and dairy enterprises produce more CO2 than the top three oil companies.
    What has this to do with Zen? See my quote at the bottom.


    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    If we don't get to the bottom of ourselves and really practice, none of this matters - we are just robots parroting people; our rakusu just becomes another costume to make us feel special.

    Let me quote David Loy:
    "Eminent biologists and UN reports concur that “business as usual” will drive half of all species on earth to extinction within this century. Collectively, we are violating the first precept — “do not harm living beings” — on the largest possible scale. And we cannot foresee the biological consequences for human life when so many species that invisibly contribute to our own well-being vanish from the planet. Many scientists have concluded that the survival of human civilization is at stake. We have reached a critical juncture in our biological and social evolution. There has never been a more important time in history to bring the resources of Buddhism to bear on behalf of all living beings. The four noble truths provide a framework for diagnosing our current situation and formulating appropriate guidelines — because the threats and disasters we face ultimately stem from the human mind, and therefore require profound changes within our minds. If personal suffering stems from craving and ignorance — from the three poisons of greed, ill will, and delusion — the same applies to the suffering that afflicts us on a collective scale. Our ecological emergency is a larger version of the perennial human predicament. Both as individuals and as a species, we suffer from a sense of self that feels disconnected not only from other people but from the Earth itself."

    Dear Risho, if you see this differently, that's fine. However, you should accept other people's opinions about our practice.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day
    no thing needs to be added

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Doshin this is not an attack on you by any means; I just wanted to respond to this with something that I see in Zen, and it bothers me.

    I'm sick of "concern". Everyone's concerned. Concern does nothing; it helps nothing. Concern allows us to feel self-satisfied that we are doing something. People think that protesting or getting outraged is doing something; it's not. Action is action. Save the concern and do something. But before you can act, you need to know what you are doing; otherwise we are just sleepwalking.

    I'm catching up on the Realizing Genjokoan readings, and early on in the Genjokoan, Dogen says something that is one of my favorite things he's ever written:



    Proselytizing Zen - telling people to wake up and so on is delusion. Telling ourselves - actually living out those things - is enlightenment.

    We have to be the change we want to see as Gandhi so accurately stated.

    American Buddhism I feel has been politically appropriated. Zen should never be used as a wrapper for some sort of belief or political agenda. I'm getting sick and tired of engaged Buddhism and this idea of Zen Buddhists having to feel or believe something and take action.

    These problems are so much bigger than any of us, and this is not the point of Zen.

    In any case, I understand the intent; I understand that everyone wants to do good, but what turns me off about Loy and so many of these "eco-Buddhists" and engaged Buddhists is that they are taking a stand on something and trying to reify that stance with the Dharma. That's the opposite of what Zen should be. Zen is and always has been a path to understand our true place in this universe; all these other things are just a distraction even if they are painted and justified in all sorts of ways.

    Instead of telling others how to wake up and live - we need to turn the light inward and follow our own teachings. Be an example, don't preach the example.

    I know I know I'm totally ranting, and I'm not judging anyone's practice; that's where it gets complicated; I mean after you've done this a while you know your practice.

    I am criticizing the state of Western Buddhism; Zen isn't supposed to be about replacing one set of ideologies with another. Sure in the beginning, fake it til you make it, but you need to dig under the layers of all ideologies - not be given new ones.

    So while I think acting against climate change, once we actually stop freaking the f out and exaggerating things, take a measured look and see how we really can fix this, then we act. That measured response is what we learn here.

    In any case - the same ideological crap happens with vegetariansm, and that's why I had to stop reading simple living. I mean the assumption that eating vegetables one day is better for you than meat and also simpler. Give me a break. You are better off fasting - now I'd get behind that. But that's not Buddhism, so it's still irrelevant!

    And that's what I'm criticizing; I don't want Zen to become Disney or "Whole Foods" Zen; that's what we have here.

    Now I could go into the science of why meat is better nutritionally; ethics is an unmeasurable and vitally important thing; I can't argue anyone and I wouldn't try

    And that's the exact point. Nutritional ideology doesn't belong in Zen either.

    I know this is obvious but nature isn't the disney channel, and we are apex predators.

    In any case, you don't need to hear me telling you that. Think how taken aback you would be if "Simple Living" said for one day a week I want you to all eat carnivore. In reality that is probably the most healthy option; I know paradigms are hard to break and established nutritional guidelines say otherwise.

    But heres' the deal - you should tell me shut my trap; you came here to practice not talk about nutrition science.

    And that's exactly how we should treat any ideology that masks itself into being some sort of Buddhist teaching, even when that is some sort of political belief, agenda or nutritional religion that seems true.

    I'm sorry - I'm not hear to be indoctrinized. And I don't want any nonsense creeping itself in. I'm here to understand and see through all my assumptions and beliefs, and any so-called Zen teacher that doesn't point us toward ourself and wants to give us a belief needs to re-evaluate their calling.

    If we don't get to the bottom of ourselves and really practice, none of this matters - we are just robots parroting people; our rakusu just becomes another costume to make us feel special. This is not special.

    I leave you with Ikkyu- and I promise I'm done lol



    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    Risho, have you ever spent time at a monastery or Zen Center for Sesshin, or other retreat? If not, I recommend it. Much of what you say is completely understandable from a lay perspective; the human population is so huge and the world is so vast that it is difficult if not impossible for our brains to grasp the effect we have on each other. I often grapple with the same type of dialogue in my head that you have written here. Spending time at the Monastery helps me to have a visual example, a clear picture of how "engaged Zen" really works, when each individual is an essential cell of a living organism, like the bees in Sekishi's hive. The bees don't suffer by overthinking, they don't think about how they are going to die soon so they had better live for today and not worry about tomorrow, nor do they virtue signal and sit on the fence directing all the other bees to do what's good. They just do their part with the focus of daily bee-life.

    In the Monastery it is similar to the beehive, day to day... however, they also set aside time for Dharma talks and scholarly study along with all the usual planning of projects and operations. This is because they have gathered together with one commonality, for all their differences, and that is "Bodhicitta--" according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Bodhicitta is a "spontaneous wish to attain enlightenment motivated by great compassion for all sentient beings, accompanied by a falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently existing self." So the teaching and the learning and the reading, though perhaps not essential to the basic survival needs of the group, are the reason they are there, to learn how to suffer less via the Buddha's medicine.

    Outside the Monastery, we lay folks want to cultivate Bodhicitta sometimes, too, and it's a little harder because we are scattered all over the place. We can't visually see how we are preparing each others' meals, cleaning each others' environments, or saving each others' resources with everything we do. But that's exactly what we are doing regardless. It logically leads to discussions here in our Sangha about how we can do all those things as laypeople more in accordance with the Precepts. It's okay to disagree, but there is no reason to discourage awareness and concern about issues brought up here in the Engaged Buddhism forum. We will all sit together later, do Zazen, and drop all the concerns together too! And that is always our Roshi's main message here, I hear it loud and clear--that when it's time, drop all the thoughts of liberal and conservative, good and bad, and just sit!

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH in a little way.
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  17. #17
    Member Anna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Risho, have you ever spent time at a monastery or Zen Center for Sesshin, or other retreat? If not, I recommend it. Much of what you say is completely understandable from a lay perspective; the human population is so huge and the world is so vast that it is difficult if not impossible for our brains to grasp the effect we have on each other. I often grapple with the same type of dialogue in my head that you have written here. Spending time at the Monastery helps me to have a visual example, a clear picture of how "engaged Zen" really works, when each individual is an essential cell of a living organism, like the bees in Sekishi's hive. The bees don't suffer by overthinking, they don't think about how they are going to die soon so they had better live for today and not worry about tomorrow, nor do they virtue signal and sit on the fence directing all the other bees to do what's good. They just do their part with the focus of daily bee-life.

    In the Monastery it is similar to the beehive, day to day... however, they also set aside time for Dharma talks and scholarly study along with all the usual planning of projects and operations. This is because they have gathered together with one commonality, for all their differences, and that is "Bodhicitta--" according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Bodhicitta is a "spontaneous wish to attain enlightenment motivated by great compassion for all sentient beings, accompanied by a falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently existing self." So the teaching and the learning and the reading, though perhaps not essential to the basic survival needs of the group, are the reason they are there, to learn how to suffer less via the Buddha's medicine.

    Outside the Monastery, we lay folks want to cultivate Bodhicitta sometimes, too, and it's a little harder because we are scattered all over the place. We can't visually see how we are preparing each others' meals, cleaning each others' environments, or saving each others' resources with everything we do. But that's exactly what we are doing regardless. It logically leads to discussions here in our Sangha about how we can do all those things as laypeople more in accordance with the Precepts. It's okay to disagree, but there is no reason to discourage awareness and concern about issues brought up here in the Engaged Buddhism forum. We will all sit together later, do Zazen, and drop all the concerns together too! And that is always our Roshi's main message here, I hear it loud and clear--that when it's time, drop all the thoughts of liberal and conservative, good and bad, and just sit!

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH in a little way.
    Gassho
    Anna
    st

    Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  18. #18
    Meitou I’m not offended; I just think that vegetarianism is not buddhism; neither is any other religious or political ideology. I think the two get confounded

    gassho

    risho
    -stlah

  19. #19
    So while I think acting against climate change, once we actually stop freaking the f out and exaggerating things, take a measured look and see how we really can fix this, then we act. That measured response is what we learn here.
    Okay, I am going to combine my view as a Zen Buddhist with my former life as a research scientist as both are relevant here, I feel.

    The basic answer is that we have taken a measured look for over three decades. The science is all there and we know what needs to be done. There are dozens of reports commissioned and delivered that tell us all we need to know and keep being updated. However, the basic science has been there since the 1980s (scientists from Exxon knew it as well as independent climatologists).

    However, acting against this, fossil fuel companies and those who believe in the primacy of free-market economies (conservatives + libertarians) have been doing their damnedest to dilute climate targets, muddy the waters of the science and alter national governmental policy to their own advantage. Normally we would take scientific authority at their word on most topics, especially when there is a large consensus on a topic. NASA is not a political organisation. Nor is the Royal Society of the UK or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Even economic institutions such as the World Bank, who are hardly woolly liberals, are speaking out on the need for action saying that "Without urgent action, climate change impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030".

    However, there are huge vested interests that benefit greatly from our continued ambivalence and a mistrust of scientists. Things were gaining momentum until George W Bush, a dyed in the wool oil man, took a red pen to the report produced by his environment department, taking out conclusions and watering down others. It is now becoming clear that fossil fuel companies have known for decades what was going on but decided to take the quick buck over ethical action.

    To me, Zen is about saving beings if possible and preventing the global heating of our planet seems like a really really really good place to start as a lot can be achieved in a short space of time if we want to.

    Climate change reflects the Zen principles of the interdependency of all things and the karmic results of action. However, those who are using the greatest amount of fossil fuel will not feel the greatest consequences - it will, as ever, be the poorer nations in hot areas who experience greater droughts and the low-lying islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans who feel the effect of sea level rise as it covers parts of their territory. Unsurprisingly, they are very concerned about the lack of action currently happening in the western world and other places of high fossil fuel consumption.

    For me, Right Action at this point combines with Right Speech in speaking out on the need to address this situation now, for the good of all beings living on the planet, human and non-human.

    I worked in an environmental science institute in a European university in the 1990s and we were looking at how changes in temperature and atmospheric CO2 would affect the growth of plants which will both change cropping patterns and the relationship of plants with pollinators as flowering times and insect maturation rates and even ranges alter. Rapidly changing climate alters huge amounts of biological systems with consequences for all of life.

    As a Zen Buddhist, I feel it is an important part of my practice to stand up for the truth in this matter and join the fight for environmental justice. However, I am not saying that everyone's Zen should look like that. But, for many of us, there is a Whole Earth Sangha that is going to be increasingly affected by man-made planetary climate change and continuing to practice without addressing that feels rather redundant.

    There is a lot of media specifically designed to confuse people around this topic, while sounding plausibly rational and measured about needing to further consider the science and action needed but it is really just stalling tactics. The truth is that we need to act, and act now as human beings. I am glad that many Buddhists are onside with this but it is everyone's choice what they want their practice to look like and I don't see that any sangha is force-marching their students onto Extinction Rebellion marches.

    Gassho
    Kokuu PhD
    -sattoday/lah-

    Useful Reading
    IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land 2019
    IPCC Climate Change Synthesis Report 2014
    Royal Society Short Guide to Climate Science
    NASA Global Climate Change website
    World Bank on Climate Change
    World Economic Forum 'For small island nations, climate change is not a threat. It's already here'
    Climate Change Science Distorted and Suppressed
    Fossil fuel big five 'spent €251m lobbying EU' since 2010
    Exxon sowed doubt about climate crisis
    Last edited by Kokuu; 10-26-2019 at 11:17 PM.
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  20. #20
    thank you for that Kokuu. For the record I’m not a climate change denier; these ideas that veganism is better for the planet, etc seem to be pervasive in Buddhist circles. I’m glad you take a stand for something you believe in; again I’m saying that these types of things are separate to me, but I can understand where you are coming from.

    Speaking of World Leaders, countries that have billions of people really need to step up to have real impact imho

    I will now stumble down from my soapbox lol
    Last edited by Risho; 10-27-2019 at 01:51 AM.

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