Having opened the series last week, we are on our way. Our second session focuses specifically on the role of practice on the EcoSattva Path. Our session leaders, Insight teacher Mark Coleman and Zen teacher Kritee, will each focus on a practice theme specifically designed to support this Path.
As we turn towards the suffering associated with the degradation and destruction of the natural world, Mark Coleman will orient us to the practice of connecting to our larger Earth body. Indeed, many of us find that practice in and with “nature” is a necessity for remaining balanced and well-resourced in the face of such difficulty.
As we discussed in session one, the territory of climate and species crises significantly challenges human psyche. The dominant culture provides little support for successfully working with this challenge and often encourages maladaptive response. Zen teacher Kritee (Kanko) will help us to demystify the power of koan practice, or practice with paradox, as a way to meet and transform the inherent tension in our collective situation.
Mark Coleman has been studying meditation practices since 1981, primarily within the Insight meditation (Buddhist) tradition, and has taught meditation retreats since 1997. His teaching is influenced by studies with many great teachers in the Buddhist tradition as well as from Advaita and Tibetan teachers in Asia and the West, and through his teacher training with Jack Kornfield. Mark primarily teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, as well as internationally in Europe and India. The author of Make Peace with Your Mind and Awake in the Wild, Mark is also a corporate consultant, individual counselor, poet, wilderness guide, and outdoor adventurer. He lives in the woods in Marin County, and likes nothing more than wandering in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
Kritee (dharma name Kanko), is a Zen teacher, scientist, activist, dancer and permaculture designer. She directs and teaches Boundless in Motion Sangha in Boulder in the Rinzai-Obaku Buddhist lineage of Cold Mountain, is a co-founder and executive director of Boulder Eco-Dharma Sangha and co-founding teacher of Earthlovego. Kritee trained as an environmental microbiologist and biogeochemist at Rutgers and Princeton Universities. As a senior scientist in the Global Climate Program at Environmental Defense Fund, she is helping to implement environment and climate-friendly methods of small farming at large scales in Asia with a three-fold goal of poverty alleviation, food security and climate mitigation / adaptation.
Homework for Session Two
- Practice in Nature – 4 minute video from Mark Coleman
- Basics of Koan Practice – Short article from Kritee
- The Garden, Reconsidered – The garden is no exemplar of how to create a right relationship with life on Earth, article by Jason Mark (Sierra Club)
Access the Webinar
[time-restrict on=”2017/10/08″ off=”2017/10/08 14:30:00″]
- The live session begins [localize_time tz=”America/Los_Angeles” fmt=”l, F j, Y g:i a T”]Sunday, October 8, 2017 9:30 am [/localize_time].
- Add this meeting and the full the series to Google Calendar, Outlook or other .ics-compatible calendar.
- To prepare for the live session, ensure that you have downloaded and installed the latest version of Zoom to your PC, Mac, iPhone, or android device. This program is free and will allow you to see and hear the webinar. You’ll also be able to ask questions and interact with the session leaders. You might run the program and choose the option to test your audio and video (if you have a webcam) to make sure everything is working.
- You may join the session up to 30 minutes before the meeting begins. At that time, the link and further instructions on how to join the webinar will appear on this page.
You’ll be taken into the live session once it begins.
If you don’t have a good internet connection, either for video or audio, you can still join by phone:
- One-click: +16468769923,,481234991# or +16699006833,,481234991#
- US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 408 638 0968
- Enter the webinar ID: 481 234 991
- International numbers are available here.
To raise your hand, ask a question, or connect by phone during the session, use the buttons provided on the zoom interface:
[/time-restrict][time-restrict on=”2017/10/08 14:40:00″]
To view the video in full screen, click the expand button on the lower right.
Each session will feature inquiries that you can explore on your own in meditation or with others in dyads, triads or larger groups. We’ll post basic instructions and the inquiries immediately following the live session.
[time-restrict on=”2017/10/07 0:00:00″]
Here we offer some optional (but highly recommended!) exercises to help you integrate some of the ideas and practices presented in the session. Each inquiry may be practiced individually or in dyads, triads or even larger groups. If the practice of meditative inquiries or group inquiry is new to you, we offer some guidance and suggestions here.
Practice with “Nature”
The following inquiries are sequential and will probably be most fruitful if engaged with one after the other. To the extent that you’re able, please do these inquiries in a setting that is not completely dominated by human influence. Go to a park, a forest, a body of water, somewhere you can sense the presence of the non-human world and also feel safe enough to let yourself engage deeply with the questions. Open your senses to your surroundings. Let yourself be impacted by the elements and beings around you. Then let your attention gather around one particular entity–a tree, a stone, the sky, etc.
- How do you perceive this other?
- What assumptions do you have about this other’s being?
- What other views of this entity might be possible? See if you can try on any of these other views as you might a pair of glasses. What is it like to look through a different lens?
- What resistance, if any, do you encounter in opening up to other views?
The practice of working with koans is very well-suited to the central themes of the EcoSattva Training. We are presented with opportunity of transforming our perception as well as cultivating non-reactivity. Indeed, responding effectively with our collective ecological crises seems to necessitate some kind of coming to terms with paradox, exactly the kind of non-dualistic understanding we might imagine can only come with Zen practice. While koan practice can be challenging, many find it very rewarding.
If you haven’t already, we invite you to read Kritee’s short article on the basics of koan practice and then explore the following inquiries in that context. You might pick just the first or one of the variations given here. You might also wish to change the wording of the inquiry so that it feels more natural and meaningful to you.
An inherent koan in engaged practice involves holding both acceptance and the want for change:
- Can you both accept the reality of ecological destruction and work to change it?
- How does this call you to accept the past, be with the present just as it is and endeavor to influence the future?
- How do you hold both the power and limits of your individual agency?
Share Your Experience
After you’ve done any/all of these inquiries, we invite you to share your experience and engage in conversation with one another in the community discussion below.[/time-restrict]
Follow Up Resources
- Practice in Nature: Moving Beyond Observation to Participation, excerpt from Mark Coleman’s book
- Guided Koan practice from Kritee (Kanko)
- Article from Kritee Kanko: Climate Despair Vs. Action: A False Choice?
- Article from Kritee Kanko: Whiteness And Privilege In Eco-Dharma: How Should We Confront Them Compassionately?
- Book from Mark Coleman, Awake in the Wild, Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery
- Book by David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World
- Documentary film, The Journey of the Universe
Support Session Leaders
To maximize participation, we are offering this series at minimal cost. In addition, all of the teachers and leaders on these calls offer their gifts freely in this spirit of dana.
If you value what is offered here, we invite you to support these leaders and you may also wish to support One Earth Sangha. Dana, or generosity, is considered an essential part of practice and situates us in the unbroken line that seeks to bring the gifts of Buddhadharma, wisdom and compassion, to our world.
Any amount you offer, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated.
We invite you to share with the community your reflections on any aspect of the session: the webinar, homework, practices, follow up resources or anything else!