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Buddhism and Ecology

by Akuppa

This is a fascinating, challenging and, in the end, realistically affirming look at Buddhist practice in the face of global climate crisis. What can we do? How can we change the ways we think and respond to the seemingly insurmountable problems the planet faces? Akuppa's thoughtful introduction to the worlds of scientific and deep ecology asks us the hard questions and offers some hope for possible answers. Drawing on the work of Joanna Macy, amongst others, he traces positive lessons to be learned from simply observing and engaging with nature's patterns and processes - and invites us all to prepare to be awestruck as a necessary first step.

Talk given at the Western Buddhist Order Convention, 2005

Please note that some small noise artefacts can be heard occasionally on this talk due to a poor original recording.

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. 'Silent Spring' - Rachel Carson and the modern ecological movement; 'the other road' (4:13) 
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2. Ecology as the big idea of our times; a lesson of Nature and Reality - quote from Kropotkin; how does Buddhist practice relate? Deep and scientific perspectives (2:42) 
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3. The science of ecology; Ernst Haeckel; relatedness; applying ecological views to ourselves; quotes from John Seed and Einstein; our choice (4:05) 
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4. Indra's Net as an image for ecology; more than interconnectedness - empirical content of ecology; particularity (3:54) 
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5. Elephants in Buddhist history - Jataka Tales, Pali Canon; learning from the scientific perspective - increased capacity for compassion; an ecological ethic (6:09) 
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6. Other ideas and patterns in nature; emergence - ants, colonies and complexity; emergence in computers and the natural world; consciousness itself; Nature's lesson (8:03) 
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7. New things arising from emergence; unpredictability - the duck; shunyata - being prepared to be awestruck; learning how change happens (4:40) 
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8. Deep ecology - heartfelt interconnectedness; googling 'deep ecology'; Akuppa's personal experience of deep ecology; Spike Milligan and the Labour Party; practical exercises - evolutionary remembering; body awareness (6:47) 
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9. Reclaiming the gifts of the ancestors; connecting with the future; Joanna Macy's fourfold stages - gratitude, despair, seeing with new eyes, going forth; systems theory, ego and despair; what Akuppa has gained (8:08) 
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10. Implications for Buddhism in the West; the 'Great Turning'; communicating the Dharma; bringing ecology into mainstream teaching (5:07) 
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11. Making an individual connection; letting in the lessons - healing anxiety, guilt and alienation; quote from 'The Veil of Stars' by Sangharakshita (2:45) 


Total running time: 56:33

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