I was in my first year of college when an environmental studies professor handed me Joanna Macy’s World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal. I was riveted by the way Joanna weaves Buddhist teachings on dependent co-arising with the study of natural systems and deep ecology. My heart was at the same time wide open and broken for our world, and Joanna’s book spoke directly to the patterns and connections I had begun to make between our suffering and how we relate with each other and with Planet Earth. This book opened the gateway to eco-dharma as my life path.
The same professor introduced me to Ancient Futures by activist Helena Norberg-Hodge. Soaking in the details of life in a traditional Himalayan Buddhist culture threatened by globalization, I recognized the dharma as something to be remembered and protected within and in our world-at-large. I later trained with Joanna and worked for Helena, and I have been forever grateful for these inspirations—and grateful as well to the 19-year-old seeker within who wholeheartedly sought alternatives to the dominant paradigm.