At a time when our environment is under assault as never before, the Buddha’s teachings on interdependence remind us that we humans are not separate from the world our activities are decimating. Our babies will drink in our breast milk the toxins we spray on our vegetable fields. The computer we toss on the garbage heap— outmoded after a year of use—will leach deadly chemicals into our groundwater.
But Buddhism also reminds us that the natural world remains mysterious, vast, and sometimes menacing, despite all of our efforts to dominate and explain it. Nature can be our greatest teacher, revealing the dharma in every moment. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “There is no phenomenon in the universe that does not intimately concern us, from a pebble resting at the bottom of the ocean, to the movement of a galaxy millions of light years away.”
In this special section, we explore how our Buddhist practice can support and illuminate our relationship with the living Earth. How can the dharma inform and encourage environmental activism? And how can our connection with the natural world—in all its awe and beauty—inspire and nourish our practice?
Read an interview with Jim Gollin, president of the Rainforest Action Network, on Buddhism, corporate power, and the future of the world in “Corporate Takeover.” Susan Moon tells us to “Stop Shopping,” and offers other Buddhist practices to save the planet. In “Everything is Holy,” Kath Butler finds her spiritual ground. Mark Coleman offers seven meditations for connecting with nature in “A Breath of Fresh Air.” Interconectedness has a dark side, says Michael Soulé, and he explores its pitfalls and saving graces in “The Whole Package.” Finally, Gary Thorp explores the wildness at the edge of awareness in “Shelter from the Storm.”
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